ARLINGTON -- Corey Kluber garners attention due to the pair of American League Cy Young Awards in his possession. Trevor Bauer has found the spotlight thanks to his breakout showing this season. Mike Clevinger is an intriguing arm that has turned heads.But in a 16-3 win over the Rangers on
ARLINGTON -- Corey Kluber garners attention due to the pair of American League Cy Young Awards in his possession. Trevor Bauer has found the spotlight thanks to his breakout showing this season. Mike Clevinger is an intriguing arm that has turned heads.
But in a 16-3 win over the Rangers on Saturday night, Carlos Carrasco issued a reminder that he is still here and he remains one of baseball's elite arms. Within Cleveland's talented starting rotation, Carrasco has somehow seemed to fly under the radar this year, but the big right-hander continues to be a critical piece to the Tribe's puzzle.
"He doesn't fly under here," Indians manager Terry Francona said. "We value him a lot. He's one of our main guys. We need him and he knows it. We feel good when he pitches."
Backed by a surplus of support from the Indians' lineup -- Yonder Alonso led the way with two home runs and Jose Ramirez collected his MLB-leading 60th extra-base hit of the year -- Carrasco cruised into the seventh inning. The starter blanked Texas for six frames before yielding a two-run homer to Adrian Beltre in the seventh.
Carrasco finished with eight strikeouts against one walk, giving him a 5.0 strikeout-to-walk ratio that currently ranks sixth among qualified MLB starters. You can find Carrasco's name in that category right below Max Scherzer and above Jacob deGrom. While Kluber boasts better statistics across the board, he and Carrasco now have an equal 12-5 ledger.
Combined, the front four of Cleveland's rotation (Kluber, Carrasco, Bauer and Clevinger) have gone 39-21 with a 3.12 ERA, 9.8 strikeouts per nine innings and a 4.3 strikeout-to-walk ratio. The rotation overall currently has 12.9 WAR (per FanGraphs), which ranks second in MLB to the Astros (14.8).
"Man, it's good," Carrasco said of the Tribe's rotation. "It's good to see those guys every five days. To see those guys throwing, it's so much fun. Clevinger, Bauer, Kluber, myself, we are here just winning some games. That's what we want -- to help the team win some games. And that's what we're doing right now. I'm really impressed with those guys."
Rangers starter Bartolo Colon -- pitching in his 21st Major League season at 45 years young -- limited Cleveland to a 2-for-14 showing through the first four innings, but then fell apart in the fifth. Yan Gomes, Francisco Lindor, Michael Brantley, Ramirez and Alonso each delivered run-scoring hits in the outburst, which put the rout in motion.
The Indians scored five runs off Colon and then added 11 to the line of Austin Bibens-Dirkx, who surrendered both of Alonso's blasts and gave Texas as many innings as he could to save the bullpen. Tyler Naquin (two-run homer and RBI single), Ramirez (RBI triple), Edwin Encarnacion (two-run double), Brandon Guyer (two-run double) and Erik Gonzalez (RBI double) all came through off the reliever.
The 11 runs allowed by Bibens-Dirkx in his four innings were the most allowed by an MLB reliever since Kansas City's Player Page for Vin Mazzaro gave up 14 on May 16, 2011 (also vs. Cleveland).
"I like the way they stayed at it," Francona said. "That's good to see."
In the sixth inning, Carrasco provided a snapshot of his ability to overpower hitters.
With one out, Carlos Tocci sent a pitch from the Indians' starter to deep right-center for a triple. Carrasco carried on unfazed, getting Shin-Soo Choo to chase a full-count slider under the zone for a strikeout one batter later. The right-hander then finished off the inning -- stranding Tocci at third -- by enticing Rougned Odor to offer at a 2-2 split-changeup that eluded his bat.
"This is a good place to hit, obviously," Francona said. "[Carrasco] kept them off-balance and put up a bunch of zeros. He gave up that home run late to Beltre, but man, he pitched really well. He threw all his pitches and worked ahead. He did a terrific job."
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Yonder's big night: After the Tribe chased Colon from the contest, Alonso greeted Bibens-Dirkx with a towering two-run homer to right field. The blast (No. 14 on the year for the first baseman) put the final touch on Cleveland's six-run outburst, which marked the team's eighth inning with at least six runs scored this season. Two innings later, Alonso took Bibens-Dirkx deep again -- this time to center -- for his 15th shot of 2018. That gave Alonso four career multi-homer showings (first with the Indians).
"It started all the way at the bottom of the order," Alonso said. "And it rallied over to the top of the order. I thought today our plan was really good. We were very selective like we talked about earlier in the game, and it paid off for us."
Melk run:Melky Cabrera (3-for-5 with two doubles) got the Tribe rolling in the fifth inning, when the veteran ripped a pitch from Colon into right-center for a double. Gomes followed with a single down the right-field line, where Joey Gallo gloved the ball and made a strong throw to the plate. Catcher Robinson Chirinos received the ball in time, but Cabrera evaded the tag and dropped down with a late slide to slap the plate. Cleveland was off and running from there.
"He hit five balls right on the barrel," Francona said of Cabrera. "He swung the bat really well. That was really fun to see. He can help us. Switch-hitter -- a professional hitter -- sitting down in that seven-hole tonight. That really helps."
Choo, who suited up for the Indians from 2006-12, went 0-for-4 to bring an end to his 52-game on-base streak, which set a Rangers' single-season franchise record. Choo struck out twice and grounded out once against Carrasco, and then chopped into a fielder's choice groundout vs. Dan Otero in the eighth. Choo reached first, but only a hit, walk or hit by pitch counts for an on-base streak. It was the longest such run since Kevin Millar's 52-game streak for the Orioles in 2007.
This marked the most runs by the Indians in a game after being held scoreless for the first four innings since a 17-3 victory over the Kansas City A's on July 8, 1956.
Clevinger (7-5, 3.47 ERA) is scheduled to take the mound for the Tribe on Sunday, when the Rangers host the Indians at 3:05 p.m. ET at Globe Life Park. Clevinger has gone 4-2 with a 2.61 ERA in nine starts on the road this season. Texas will counter with righty Yovani Gallardo (3-1, 6.75 ERA).
Jordan Bastian has covered the Indians for MLB.com since 2011, and previously covered the Blue Jays from 2006-10. Read his blog, Major League Bastian, follow him on Twitter @MLBastian and Facebook.