Carrasco looking more like front-runner for final rotation spot

Josh Tomlin, who is the other candidate for the spot, will pitch on Tuesday against Texas.

Mark Duncan/AP

GOODYEAR, Ariz. — With a spot in the rotation up for grabs, Carlos Carrasco made a pretty good case on Monday that he should be the guy.

The right-hander pitched six solid innings as the Indians beat the Reds 8-3 on Monday at Goodyear Ballpark. Carrasco allowed three runs on nine hits, striking out five and walking none.

Josh Tomlin, who is the other candidate for the spot, will pitch on Tuesday against Texas. Earlier Monday, Trevor Bauer was optioned to Triple-A Columbus and Aaron Harang was released before he signed with Atlanta.

"Right now, my mind is on the starting rotation. If they make another decision and send me to the bullpen, I’ll do my job," Carrasco said.

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Carrasco was aggressive from the start and retired the first eight hitters before allowing his first hit. He got into some trouble in the fourth and sixth innings, allowing runs but was able to limit the damage. He finished strong by striking out the final two hitters he faced.

Not being aggressive had been a problem for Carrasco in his past two outings. He said last week that he had been trying to be two precise in this pitches instead of just going out and throwing.

"This is the mindset I need to have the rest of the season, whether I am in the rotation or a reliever. Just go out and be aggressive," Carrasco said.

Carrasco also fixed a problem in his delivery where he had his left arm too low, which was tipping off opposing hitters on pitches. By having it higher, that created better deception.

Terry Francona was also pleased with Carrasco’s effort, noting that most of the pitchers have gotten a little more fatigued the longer they are going in games.

Added Francona: "He held his stuff for a decent amount of time. That was real good to see. Even as he got fatigued he didn’t back off."

Lonnie Chisenhall, who found out earlier in the day that he made the roster, had two hits and one of the Tribe’s three homers, a solo shot to left in the second inning. Ryan Raburn had a two-run homer in the third and Jason Kipnis had a three-run shot in the sixth.

The Tribe ended up taking the Cactus Leaague version of the Ohio Cup, winning three of the five games this spring.