Fausto Carmona has to believe his second outing of the season against the Chicago White Sox will be far better than his first.
The Cleveland Indians are hoping the same thing.
After being shut out by a pitcher in his second start following unprecedented surgery, the Indians will look to Carmona for a split of their two-game set with the White Sox on Thursday night in Chicago.
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Carmona (3-3, 3.94 ERA), Cleveland’s opening day starter against the White Sox on April 1, was ripped for 10 runs and 11 hits over three innings of the Indians’ 15-10 home loss.
“Maybe I was overthrowing some pitches and I could not get them down. On some, I had no movement,” Carmona said after an 88-pitch outing that included long homers by Adam Dunn and Carlos Quentin.
Since that debacle, Carmona has been quite good for the major league-leading Tribe. He’s gone 3-2 with a 2.56 ERA in eight starts, and 2-0 with a 2.12 ERA in four outings since losing to last-place Minnesota on April 28.
The right-hander didn’t get a decision Friday versus Seattle after allowing four runs and six hits in 6 2-3 innings. Travis Hafner’s three-run walk-off homer gave the Indians a 5-4 victory.
Carmona’s seven wins versus Chicago (19-25) are tied with Detroit for his most against any opponent. However, Carmona’s 5.48 ERA against the White Sox is more than two runs higher than his mark versus the Tigers.
Still, Carmona will be trying to win his fourth straight start at U.S. Cellular Field. Since losing there Sept. 10, 2007, Carmona has yielded seven runs and nine hits in 19 innings.
Coming off his shortest outing of the season, Gavin Floyd (4-3, 4.22) will take the mound for the White Sox.
Floyd pitched at least six innings in each of his first seven starts, but lasted just 4 1-3 Saturday against Oakland, and permitted five runs and a season-high nine hits in the 6-2 loss.
“I was struggling right out of the gate,” Floyd said.
The last time the right-hander faced Cleveland, on April 18, 2010, it was one of the worst outings of his career. He made it out of the first inning but failed to retire a batter in the second, giving up seven runs, six hits and four walks in Chicago’s 7-4 road defeat.
Now in his fifth season with the White Sox and eighth in the majors, Floyd is 4-3 with a 5.44 ERA in eight career starts against Cleveland.
The Indians must be happy to step in against Floyd after doing little against Jake Peavy in a 1-0 loss Wednesday.
Making his second start after having a lat muscle reattached to his shoulder 10 months ago, the 2007 NL Cy Young Award winner tossed a three-hitter with eight strikeouts and no walks in his home debut.
He fanned Michael Brantley and Asdrubal Cabrera to finish his ninth career complete game.
“You have surgery that’s deemed experimental. You just don’t know where your career can go from there,” Peavy said.
Dunn’s first-inning sacrifice fly scored leadoff hitter Juan Pierre with the game’s lone run, helping the White Sox beat the Indians for the third straight time on the South Side.
Shin-Soo Choo had two hits as Cleveland (26-14) fell to 1-3 in the season series. The Indians had scored 26 runs while sweeping Kansas City in a two-game set earlier this week.