Francona on Carrasco: 'We need him'

September 7th, 2019

MINNEAPOLIS -- In his first appearance at Progressive Field since his leukemia diagnosis, blew a three-run lead in the eighth inning against the White Sox, which prompted his manager to debate whether he rushed his pitcher back into high-leverage situations.

But after that night, he didn’t question it any longer.

Francona didn’t think twice in Friday’s 6-2 victory over the Twins, sending Carrasco to the mound in the bottom of the eighth just after the Tribe had knotted the score at 2.

“I think we need him,” Francona said. “And the only way to really do that is to pitch him.”

In Carrasco’s first game back from the injured list, he gave up one run on one hit in one inning at Tampa Bay. Then, in Cleveland, he allowed four runs in one frame before tossing a scoreless inning in Minnesota.

“I mean, we all know he’s a good pitcher,” Francona said. “As long as he maintains his energy and he doesn’t have down days there, I think that was good for his confidence. Again, there’s never a guarantee that you’re not gonna give up runs, but I think we’ve all seen what he’s capable of and I think you kind of look and go, ‘OK, we’ll see more of the good ones as he gets his legs under him.’”

Carrasco made four Minor League appearances in his rehab assignment, allowing one run over 4 2/3 innings. But even with a few trips to the mound at Double-A and Triple-A, Francona thinks that it takes time for a pitcher to find his footing once he gets back to the big leagues.

“Even when he’s pitching [in a rehab assignment], once he’s in the game, there’s a pitch limit,” Francona said. “Like he’s going 25 [pitches] today or 18 because you’re trying to build a guy up. Now, all of a sudden, you come into a Major League game and it’s like, 'This guy might steal, this guy might try to bunt.' It’s, ‘I’ve got to keep them off the scoreboard,’ as opposed to getting your 25 pitches in.”

Childhood Cancer Awareness Day
Every day, the Indians post their lineup on the wall with pictures of former or current players faded in the background. But on Saturday, there was a big yellow ribbon with the words "Childhood Cancer Awareness."

In recognition of September as National Childhood Cancer Awareness Month, MLB clubs are doing their part for the cause for the fourth consecutive year by wearing gold during Saturday’s games. All players, coaches, umpires and grounds crew members will wear gold ribbon decals and wristbands, and each organization has the chance to participate in special events within their communities.

When the Indians return to Progressive Field, the team will hold a pregame ceremony on Friday, Sept. 20, to present the proceeds from the “I Stand For Cookie" T-shirts -- made in partnership with Homage during Carrasco’s battle with leukemia -- to raise money for pediatric cancer research at the Cleveland Clinic.

Indians outfielder Greg Allen will also participate in the festivities, running his player program in the month of September as part of National Childhood Cancer Awareness Month. Through Greg’s Silver Lining, Allen will host four pediatric cancer patients from the Cleveland Clinic at batting practice on Thursday, Sept. 19, and do a meet-and-greet after. Each of the patients will receive Greg Allen jerseys and get tickets to Thursday night’s game.

This date in Indians history
2017: The Indians complete a sweep of the White Sox, setting a franchise record with their 15th consecutive win en route to 22 straight victories.