The Cleveland Indians’ decision to move Carlos Carrasco back to the starting rotation has already paid off in a big way.
Carrasco carries a 12-inning scoreless streak into Friday night’s series opener against the Houston Astros, who visit Cleveland looking to avoid a seventh consecutive loss in the series.
Carrasco (5-4, 3.27 ERA) has yet to allow a run since rejoining the rotation, yielding five hits and no walks in winning both his starts. After a 4-1 victory at Yankee Stadium on Aug. 10, the right-hander threw seven innings of three-hit ball to beat Baltimore 6-0 on Saturday.
"Are you kidding me? He’s filthy," teammate Chris Dickerson told MLB’s official website. "It’s been awesome. He’s just been so relaxed, calm and throwing strikes. Great tempo. Keeping everybody in the game. That’s all you can ask for. He’s just been flat-out lights out."
Prior to posting back-to-back wins, Carrasco had gone 0-12 with an 8.09 ERA over his previous 17 starts dating to 2011. He went 0-3 with a 6.95 mark in April before moving to the bullpen.
"I think he’s better equipped to pitch, whether it’s in the bullpen or starting," manager Terry Francona said. "I think he feels good about himself. I think being out in the bullpen helped him a lot. I think it let him settle in and get his confidence and kind of understand who he is.
"And he’s taken the same mentality now into the starts. Man, it’s a big lift for us."
Carrasco will try to help Cleveland (64-62) get back on track following Thursday’s 4-1 loss at Minnesota. Zach Walters homered for the second consecutive day but the Indians failed to get a runner into scoring position.
Cleveland has still won seven of 10 and enters the weekend six games behind AL Central-leading Kansas City.
"Obviously, we’d like to win every game we can right now with the position we’re in," pitcher Corey Kluber said.
Cleveland won each of last year’s final six meetings against Houston by a combined 41-15 score. Michael Brantley hit safely in all of those games, going 9 for 26 with a homer and seven RBIs.
The Astros (54-74) fell to 4-3 on their 10-game road trip with Thursday’s 3-0 loss to the Yankees. Houston had won its previous three before collecting four hits, its lowest total since July 25.
Brad Peacock (3-8, 5.47) takes the mound looking to bounce back from yet another ugly showing. The right-hander, who yielded six runs over 4 1-3 innings in Saturday’s 10-7 loss at Boston, is 0-3 with a 10.80 ERA over his last five starts after
"He was trying to locate his offspeed pitches and missed his spot, and damage was done," manager Bo Porter said. "I think the biggest thing with Peacock moving forward is being able to command all his pitches."
It’s looking like the Indians could be without catcher Yan Gomes, who was forced to exit Thursday after getting hit in the mask by a deflected pitch behind the plate. Gomes is batting .356 with six homers and 20 RBIs over his last 30 games.
"The doctor didn’t want to say he had a concussion," Francona said. "But we obviously need to keep an eye on him. We’ll get him examined in the morning."