DETROIT — Carlos Carrasco is not looking for a repeat of his last start against the Tigers when the Cleveland Indians visit Detroit on Saturday.
Carrasco (2-2, 3.26 ERA) pitched against Detroit on April 24, and suffered a strained left hamstring covering first base in the third inning. He missed five weeks.
Also, Carrasco is 2-4 with a 7.62 ERA over his career at Comerica Park. He is working on extra rest because of Cleveland's day off Thursday.
The Indians will leave Detroit in first place in the American League Central, owing to the edge over Kansas City and Detroit they took into the three-game series.
But don't try to lure Cleveland manager Terry Francona into any discussions going farther than 12 hours into the future.
“We don't look ahead,” he said. “We just try to play the game (of the day). If we do that enough, end of the season comes around we'll be where we're supposed to be.
“So just play. If you play good enough, you look up at the end you'll be OK.”
Cleveland takes a 7-0 lead over Detroit in the season series into Saturday's game following Friday night's 7-4 victory.
“This reminds me of that 10-game stretch at the end of the 2013 season when we made the playoffs,” Indians' second baseman Jason Kipnis said.
The game marks the return of Anibal Sanchez to the Tigers' starting rotation.
Whether it goes beyond that, who knows (outside manager Brad Ausmus and his staff).
Sanchez has been in the bullpen since his last start May 31 at Los Angeles, covering six relief appearances. He went 1-1 with a 1.86 ERA in 9 2/3 innings out of the bullpen.
“We probably won't go much over 100 with him,” Ausmus said of Sanchez's pitch limit, a tongue-in-cheek statement. “It's all based on how he feels.”
Five innings would seem to be his max, based on both how little he's thrown lately and the fact he was having problems getting past the fourth and fifth innings when he was in the rotation.
Some of that had to do with the fact Ausmus was reluctant to go to a bullpen that was somewhere between mediocre and tinder. Now, Detroit's bullpen has been more stable.
The Indians have dominated the season series to date. But as catcher James McCann pointed out Thursday, the Tigers didn't have center fielder Cameron Maybin and McCann was injured for the first three-game set and fresh off the disabled list for the second.
“When you have your core guys you were counting on in spring training, that's a huge plus,” Ausmus said. “But there's a lot of teams that don't have that core. Injuries are part of the game now. That being said, you still have to go out there and beat them.”
Detroit's offense has perked up since an early season slump.
“They're definitely swinging the bats,” Francona said. “My goodness. You look up and down the lineup you see a lot of .300s — with some production.''