Coming off of a six-run, four-inning loss to the Chicago Cubs in his last start, Carroll was looking to regain the stuff that made him dominant in his first two major league starts. In those two outings, Carroll was pounding the ball low in the zone, which induced hitters to hit meager grounders in the infield. In his last start, however, the 29-year-old journeyman continued to show why he struggled to make a major league roster in his first seven professional seasons. Whether it be lack of stamina or just simply being figured out by the Athletics the second and third time through the order, Carroll lost his stuff as the game progressed.
It will be interesting to see what the Sox do with him moving forward. It is well documented that the Sox do not have any polished prospects who can take over and make an immediate impact right after being slotted in the rotation. Veteran Tommy Hanson has been decent in five starts at triple-A Charlotte, accumulating an ERA of 3.55, but has struggled with his control, allowing 5.3 walks per nine innings.
Recently demoted Erik Johnson has been impressive in his three starts since being sent down, chalking up a 2.84 ERA and 1.00 WHIP. Even with these eye-popping numbers, the Sox will probably keep him down in the minors for a couple more starts in order for him to continue to tinker his mechanics.
That is exactly what Carroll deserves; another shot to prove that he can stick with the major league club. But when is it time to end the Scott Carroll experiment?
Carroll’s future does not correlate with his own success, but the health of the White Sox starters on the DL. When Chris Sale returns from the DL, the Sox must decide between sending Andre Rienzo or Carroll down to the minors. Rienzo has not been that much better than Carroll, posting a 4.56 ERA and 1.44 WHIP, but he has an upper hand due to his age. Rienzo may not be a centerpiece in the team’s future plans, but his slight edge in major league experience and being three years Carroll’s junior gives him an advantage come decision time.
With Sale not expected to return for at least a week or two, Carroll still has time to show that he deserves to stick around. While him just making it to the majors was storybook, having sustained success is what he wants to be remembered for most.