Poor relief pitching again derailed a late lead and neutralized a second straight excellent start.
Carlos Carrasco, making his first major-league start of 2010, seemed a completely different pitcher than the one who pitched in 2009. He didn't walk a batter until his final inning, and after giving up a first inning homer to Alex Rios, threw up zeroes in the next six innings. He threw a mid-90s fastball and three breaking pitches, all with different speeds. Carrasco will be starting every five days in September, and this month's starts will be treated as an audition for a rotation spot next season. The Indians aren't exactly deep in starting pitchers, so I don't think Carrasco has too much to worry about regardless of how he pitches, but another couple starts like today's would not only lock down a spot, but would place him near the top of next year's rotation. After enduring a litany of pitchers with mediocre stuff but good minor-league numbers fail in the majors, it's nice to finally see a pitcher with the stuff that can translate to the majors.
Because both Joe Smith and Frank Herrmann have struggled recently, Acta called upon Justin Germano to get Alex Rios with two outs in the eighth. Germano had been pitching well in long relief, but that success didn't carry over to this new setup role; he fell behind Rios, eventually walking him. Walks at any time are cardinal sins for a relief pitcher, but this particular walk not only put the tying run on base, but brought the go-ahead run to the plate in the form of Paul Konerko. Germano fell behind Konerko, then served up a three-run homer. Once he fell behind 2-0 to Konerko, it seemed to me a given that a home run would follow.
|Highest WPA||Lowest WPA|
|Jayson Nix||.265||Justin Germano||-.594|
|Carlos Carrasco||.197||Jordan Brown||-.147|
|Michael Brantley||.084||Shelley Duncan||-.094|