Following the Cleveland Indians‘ fourth straight loss delivered by the Los Angeles Angels, Terry Francona let it be known that right-handed starter Carlos Carrasco will be sent to the bullpen. Zach McAllister will pitch on short rest in Wednesday’s west coast trip finale. As the Tribe continues to get on the same page, calling up Trevor Bauer would provide a surge of energy to this group sitting in the cellar of the American League Central Division at 11-15.
During Spring Training the likely candidate to back up Carrasco was Josh Tomlin, who enjoyed a better camp in 20.1 innings offering a .250 BAA, 3.45 ERA on 19 strikeouts. The ideology in favor of Tomlin would suggest that Bauer wasn’t ready, while rushing him into 2014 too soon could stunt his growth in class AAA Columbus Clippers. What most may have considered to be a routine spot start call-up is beginning to look more like Bauer’s audition for this potential circumstance. Bauer passed the test will flying colors, proving he maintains top of the rotation type command.
A lot has changed from March, including what we know about the status of Bauer’s game. The 23-year-old has been nearly untouchable in four starts with the Clippers, totaling 25.2 innings, 1.40 ERA, 28 SO, 7 BB and a BAA of .196 and has yet to give up an earned run to a right-handed bat. Bauer’s spot start against the San Diego Padres catered to a similar beat in six innings with eight strikeouts, barreling past hitters with his mid 90s fastball and deceptive breaking pitches.
Despite a sluggish April, this was not an easy decision for the Indians’ brass to conjure up this early in the season, because ultimately, limiting Carrasco’s role comes with a significant decision attached. Demoting Carrasco should send shockwaves throughout the dugout, proving nobody is safe if you cannot help manufacture wins. Perhaps Francona is more worried than he has let on, looking for something to light the fire in the clubhouse. The hungry approach Bauer brings to each start can certainly rub off on the rest of the team, even though he is the least tenured member of the bunch.
Cleveland doesn’t need to come to a conclusion until Carrasco’s next scheduled start on Tuesday, May 6, against the Minnesota Twins. Promoting Bauer currently stands as the most probable scenario based on the trust bestowed on him in the short notice doubleheader. While the starting rotation starts to get back on its feet, this trend would begin to move in overdrive if Bauer were able to join the staff, elevating the collective group’s level of play.