Tribe turns to Carrasco to avoid first since 1987
The Cleveland Indians were plagued by bad pitching and injuries in a disastrous first home series.
They hope Carlos Carrasco can help them avoid their longest home skid to start a season in 28 years Tuesday night against the Chicago White Sox.
Cleveland (2-4) was swept at home over the weekend by Detroit and learned that catcher Yan Gomes, third on the club with 74 RBIs last year, could be out for two months with a sprained knee ligament. Michael Brantley, the majors' only player to hit at least .300 with at least 20 home runs and stolen bases last season, has missed four games with a back injury, though manager Terry Francona is hopeful he won't go to the disabled list.
"I don't know what was worse, losing three games or losing the two players we did," said Jason Kipnis, who is batting .308. "I actually do know which one's worse, but it's part of the season, every team's going to go through stuff where some players are going to get nicked up or put on the shelf for a couple days."
The Indians, who haven't started 0-4 at home since 1987, gave up at least eight runs in each of the last three games after surrendering three in their first three. Starters Zach McAllister and T.J. House allowed a combined 11 runs in 5 1-3 innings on Friday and Sunday. Corey Kluber delivered a strong start Saturday, but the bullpen yielded seven runs in a 9-6 defeat.
Carrasco (1-0, 0.00 ERA) figures to give the staff a lift after an impressive season debut. He struck out 10 and allowed three hits over 6 1-3 innings in a 2-0 win at Houston on Wednesday, a day after signing a four-year, $22 million extension.
"Boy, he came out with really explosive stuff and I think knowing how much he missed in spring training, it probably wasn't surprising that he got a little bit tired," Francona said. "But he pitched so well ... his stuff was so good."
Carrasco, who threw 88 pitches, was limited to three spring training starts as he took time away for the birth of his daughter.
He had been 0-4 with a 7.12 ERA lifetime versus the White Sox until going 2-0 with a 0.53 ERA in his final three appearances against them last season. He allowed one run and eight hits over 15 1-3 innings with 15 strikeouts in the two starts.
The right-hander faces a lineup that appears to be heating up after a slow start. Adam LaRoche homered in 5-4 and 6-2 wins over Minnesota after the White Sox (2-4) totaled seven runs while opening 0-4.
Chicago's rotation is looking to build off its first quality start after Chris Sale struck out eight and limited the Twins to one run in six innings in Sunday's four-run victory. Left-hander Jose Quintana (0-0, 9.00) struggled in Wednesday's 7-5 defeat at Kansas City, giving up five runs and nine hits in five innings, though he didn't receive the loss. He walked one batter and hit two others.
Quintana was 1-0 with a 3.91 ERA in four starts against the Indians in 2014. Brantley is 10 for 20 off him with a home run and three doubles.
Cleveland is 0-3 against left-handed starters and is batting .216 against southpaws. Kipnis and Michael Bourn are a combined 3 for 23 against lefties compared to 11 for 29 off right-handers.
Melky Cabrera is 5 for 10 against Carrasco with five RBIs.
The Indians are 15-3 at home in the series since 2013.