Carrasco gets call, throws five scoreless in relief
CLEVELAND -- In his first career Major League relief appearance, Carlos Carrasco showed why he could be such an effective starter.
The Indians recalled Carrasco from Triple-A Columbus before its series opener Friday against the Angels to provide long relief for a bullpen that was used often during the previous Detroit series. To make room, Cleveland optioned reliever Preston Guilmet, who gave up four runs in 2 2/3 innings Thursday, to the Clippers.
Carrasco entered in the fifth inning of Friday's 5-2 loss with the Indians trailing by three runs. He threw the final five innings and kept the Angels to just one hit, walking three and striking out four.
"It should [help his confidence]. He was very good," manager Terry Francona said. "It was good for our whole team's confidence. Any time you see somebody go out there and do what he did, that's terrific."
The right-handed Carrasco had been mostly unproductive across several stints with the Tribe this season. In six Major League starts this season before Friday, he was 0-4 with a 9.10 ERA.
Carrasco, 26, lowered his ERA on the season to 7.75 with his performance against Los Angeles.
"We've seen him throw some pretty good games," Francona said. "It's in there. I think it's more just pitching the way he pitches, finding that consistency. He's going to have a ton of success."
The move to promote Carrasco came after Cleveland's bullpen was forced to throw 13 innings between losses on Wednesday and Thursday, including a frame from utility player Ryan Raburn. Francona turned to Carrasco on Friday not long after starter Scott Kazmir's five-run, three-plus-innings outing came to an end. Matt Albers threw an inning between Kazmir and Carrasco.
Francona said afterward that the club would search for ways to give Kazmir extra rest in the future, as the left-hander is feeling fatigue late in the season. He also said that Carrasco will remain with the team, providing for the possibility that he would start in Kazmir's place Wednesday in Minnesota.
Though Carrasco had struggled with Cleveland this year, Francona said before the game that he believes the pitcher has the ability to become a solid starter. In 16 games (14 starts) with Columbus, Carrasco went 3-1 with a 3.14 ERA. Over 71 2/3 innings, he had 79 strikeouts against 21 walks, with a .221 average against.
"He has the arm to do probably anything, just because his stuff is so electric," Francona said before Friday's loss. "It's just a matter of harnessing it at this level. I would never want to pull away from him as a starter. There's just too much to like."