NEW YORK -- Carlos Carrasco will be the overlooked half of the pitchers' duel that occurred Sunday night at Yankee Stadium in Game 3 of the American League Division Series presented by Doosan, thanks to Masahiro Tanaka's victory. But Carrasco gave the Indians a chance in his postseason debut."Both teams
NEW YORK -- Carlos Carrasco will be the overlooked half of the pitchers' duel that occurred Sunday night at Yankee Stadium in Game 3 of the American League Division Series presented by Doosan, thanks to Masahiro Tanaka's victory. But Carrasco gave the Indians a chance in his postseason debut.
"Both teams played well," Carrasco said after his no-decision in a 1-0 Indians loss. "It's not frustrating for anyone. In the end, there's only one team that's going to win. They played good baseball, and tomorrow's another day, another game."
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Amid a postseason in which starting pitchers have struggled to pitch deep into games, Carrasco did his part to keep the Tribe in a duel, tossing 5 2/3 scoreless innings while striking out seven. For a stretch early in the game, he and Tanaka seemingly tried to one-up each other on quick innings. They ended up teaming for the first game in postseason history in which each starting pitcher produced seven or more strikeouts and allowed three hits or fewer in a scoreless performance.
"That's two of the better starting performances you're going to see," Cleveland manager Terry Francona said.
With a tough breaking ball and an effective change of speeds, Carrasco continued his track record of stingy pitching at Yankee Stadium, holding the Yankees hitless until Didi Gregorius singled with one out in the fourth. Carrasco struck out seven of the first 15 batters he faced, including slugger Aaron Judge on a slider in the dirt in the first inning before Judge took a called third strike on a breaking ball at the knees in the fourth inning.
This made for a memorable postseason debut for Carrasco, who missed the postseason a year ago with a broken bone in his right hand.
"The feeling is way different," Carrasco said of the postseason intensity. "In the first inning, I kind of felt it a little bit. But after that, I felt great. I just tried to control myself every time when I pitched and just think about every pitch that I'm going to throw. I know in this game, in the postseason, I can't make a mistake on any pitch."
According to Statcast™, Carrasco threw his fastball on just 30 of 85 pitches, a 35.3 fastball percentage that ranked as his lowest in a game since 2015 (42.5 percent) and well below his usual fastball rate of 53.3 percent.
"He was excellent," catcher Roberto Perez said. "He had all his pitches working. We went in, down. He had a great game."
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The changeup and slider were very good, according to Carrasco. The only pitch he felt he struggled to use was his curveball.
Carrasco became just the fourth Indians pitcher to strike out seven batters in a scoreless postseason start on three or fewer hits, joining Corey Kluber from Game 2 of the 2016 ALDS against Boston and Orel Hershiser, who accomplished the feat in Game 2 of the 1995 ALDS, also against the Red Sox.
Carrasco didn't allow a runner to reach scoring position until his sixth and final inning, when two walks and a Gary Sanchez single loaded the bases with two outs. He tried for another ground ball like the one he induced from Brett Gardner earlier the inning, which went for a double play that cleared the bases with two outs, but he couldn't get Gregorius to offer at any of the changeups he threw down and out of the zone after a swing-and-miss for a 1-1 count.
Andrew Miller replaced Carrasco to retire Starlin Castro and end the inning before Greg Bird's home run in the seventh sent the Tribe to defeat.
Jason Beck has been a reporter for MLB.com 2002. Read Beck's Blog, follow him on Twitter @beckjason and listen to his podcast.