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CarCar, etc.

Back from Mud Hens - Clippers tonight. Stray thoughts:

 

  • Carrasco's line doesn't do him justice. And even the line itself is darn good: 7 IP, 4 K, 1 BB (and it was crap, he got squeezed), 6 H, 1 R). But the larger reality here is that while CarCar can beat himself, he is straight-up better than AAA hitters. The fastball is 94 and dancing; the change-up is 79 and the bottom falls out. He hardly needed the curveball tonight, but I'm pretty sure two of those strikeouts were on breaking pitches. Don't kid yourself -- this guy is the future number two in Cleveland's rotation. The questions are whether that's going to be apparent to Carlos, and when.
  • But there might be something to this "unraveling" business. Carrasco had a lot of swagger -- he's enormous, by the way, noticeably larger in the legs and shoulders than he was last season -- but the one time he came undun, and climbed a mountain that was way too high, and when he found out he couldn't fly, mama, it was too late, was in the seventh. He had thrown 80-some pitches, gave up a seeing-eye single, then surrendered the aforementioned crap walk. So now it's two B.S. runners on first and second, but the guy at the plate is a stiff, and if CarCar can deliver a twin-killer, he gets to come back for another inning. Instead, frustrated, he overthrows, uses too many pitches, and gives up a well-struck ball to center. Constanza bailed him out -- stay tuned -- but Carrasco's got to have the maturity to see the big picture under those circumstances. A Big League hitter could've -- who am I kidding? Would have -- done some real damage on that pitch.
  • And while we're talking about a lack of maturity... With a six-run lead and two guys aboard late in the start, it's a catcher's job to cool out his starter. Santana went out to the mound, but the chat pretty plainly was of the "let's get this punk" variety, not the "let's get a grounder" variety. I appreciate the enthusiasm, Carloses, but not as much as I would've appreciated a quick double play and Carrasco coming back for the eighth.
  • Fortunately, Jose Constanza is made of magic. So it's the seventh, as I said, runners at first and second, one out, and a sinking liner to shallow center. Constanza on the job. He broke in on the pitch, read it perfectly, executed a sliding cradle catch and you never really doubted that he'd make it. Ball pops into the air, he controls it to save the out, jumps to his feet and fires a strike to second to double off the runner for the ol' 8-4 double play. Sweet sassy molassy can that man play some outfield.
  • Carlos Santana is a man amongst boys. He doesn't even have to swing and you can see how well he times up pitches. He looked bored even on his homer. The Hens really didn't pitch to him after that. His defense looks ... okay. The throws are lightning, but the release is a bit long. Possibly I was just biased after watching Mud Hens catcher Robinzon Diaz, who's as good defensively as any catcher I've ever seen in person. Even his tosses back to the pitcher zip.
  • Hector Ambriz is very large and wind-upy. That is one high-effort delivery, particularly after watching 100 pitches of CarCar, who could hit 93 and yawn at the same time. (I didn't stay for Carlton Smith, and happily so -- it got wet in the ninth and the temperature dropped rapidly during the game, so while it looks like Carlton had a clean outing, I'll chalk that one up to a case of let'sgettheheckouttahere-itis.
  • Mike Brantley has got to learn to pull the ball. When you're a left-handed hitter, and AAA teams play you 60 feet off the right-field line ... well, let's put it this way: There's no particular benefit to being able to use the opposite field if nobody thinks you can turn on the ball. There's something going on, here. I don't know what, but it's not my imagination.
  • When Brian Bixler hits a ball, it stays hit. Hot damn in December were his home runs (s!) ever crushed.
  • And a word about the competition: Putrid.
  • Okay, an actual word about the competition. The Tigers don't have much use for AAA. Now that Scott Sizemore's on the 25-man, the only Mud Hen of note is Danny Schlereth, whose breaking stuff is indeed ridiculous, and who is listed at 6' 210lbs, and who is visibly both shorter than six feet, and heavier than 210 pounds.
  • Jason Donald really didn't do much tonight. He looks awesome, though.
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