Carlos Carrasco’s Slow Start Too Much to Overcome for Cleveland Indians in Loss

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The Cleveland Indians‘ fifth starter, Carlos Carrasco, didn’t exactly make a good first impression in his first start of the 2014 season Saturday afternoon at Progressive Field. Carrasco, who beat out Josh Tomlin for the final starting spot in the rotation, was beat up for five runs, four earned in what turned out to be a bad day all the way around for the Indians in a 7-3 loss to the Minnesota Twins.

Carrasco followed suit of the No. 4 starter, Danny Salazar, having control issues early and often in the first inning. Salazar allowed two runs to the Twins in the Friday home opener that the Indians eventually came back to win 7-2. He was able to calm down after a tough start. Carrasco, on the other hand, was not so lucky.

Minnesota pushed three past home plate in the first, with Brian Dozier hitting a solo homer, and then Jason Kubel and Josmil Pinto each plated two more runs with RBIs later in the inning to make it a 3-0 Twins lead before the Indians ever got to the plate.

“I just started a little bit slow in my first inning,” Carrasco said. “I finished my last five innings throwing a lot of strikes, but I missed my spots too. Overall I feel good.”

Carrasco had not only control issues, but when he was finally able to locate his pitches, the Twins were sitting on them as they were right over the plate. Twins hitters waited on Carrasco, as of 28 hitters he faced, he threw first-pitch strikes to only 10 of them. He threw a ball to 16 of the batters and also hit one.

It took Carrasco, who is out of options and needs to pitch well to stay at the Major League level or else his Indians career could be in jeopardy, 66 pitches to get through three innings of work against the Twins, as a Trevor Plouffe double scored another run, and then he scored on a passed ball to make it 5-0 Twins after three frames.

“You give up the solo homer, we’re going to have to score anyway,” Indians manager Terry Francona said. “But they were able to keep stringing their at bats together, and add to that, which really hurt us. It was five (runs) pretty quick.”

To his credit, Carrasco held the Twins without a run the rest of the way, and he did strikeout five of the last 10 batters he faced. Problem is by then the damage was done, and the Twins were already well ahead with a solid start from righty Kyle Gibson, who held the Indians to one run on three hits over five innings of work in the Twins’ victory.

The final batter Carrasco faced was Dozier. The day ended about as wildly as it started for Carrasco, as he plunked Dozier in the stomach with his 100th and final pitch of what turned out to be a long afternoon.

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