It’s another season of Indians’ baseball and another injury to Carlos Carrasco. Although it doesn’t look to be very serious, the injury is somewhat concerning for the Tribe. Carrasco is not expected to miss an extended period of time as he is scheduled to make his next start on May 23 against the Reds, but it is just a further indication that he is unable to stay healthy. Carrasco was the Tribe’s most consistent starting pitcher during parts of last season and early this season, but he missed the playoffs last year with a broken hand. He had several other injuries leading up to that point since being traded to the Tribe, and he also had to be shut down during part of spring training this year with an elbow issue.
He was pitching extremely well and is 4-2 with a 2.60 ERA, but it was even better than that before he gave up 5 runs in 3.2 innings and left with a pectoral injury in his last start. The Indians staff has been in some turmoil lately. Corey Kluber has been on the disabled list for awhile, and the rest of the staff has been performing very inconsistently. Josh Tomlin, Danny Salazar, and Trevor Bauer have all looked good at times, but they have also given up plenty of big games. Bauer has put together three decent starts in a row, but Salazar has an 8.76 ERA in May and has really been struggling as of late.
The team brought up Mike Clevinger to fill in for Kluber, but he may need to stay and take someone’s place when Kluber is healthy again. Clevinger has been great in Kluber’s absence and has posted a 1.53 ERA in three starts and one short relief appearance since being called up from AAA Columbus. In his last start, he went 7.1 scoreless innings while giving up on two hits against the AL-leading Houston Astros.
Clevinger has been a bright spot in Tribe’s underachieving rotation which has ranked near the bottom of the American League in starting pitching ERA. Their overall pitching stats haven’t been bad, but that has mainly been because of their dominant bullpen. If this team is going to realize their full potential, they are going to need their starters to stay healthy and have better production. It is definitely far from ideal that the Indians are struggling to keep their starters healthy, but it is good that they are able to get an extended look at Clevinger against major league hitters.
They will be able to have confidence in him if they need to use him later in the year when another injury strikes or if they need to replace someone in the rotation due to lack of production. The Indians’ starting staff was supposed to be one of the best in the majors, but right now they are downright mediocre or even worse. What was supposed to be a strength of this team is now looking like a big weakness. The starters’ struggles coupled with the recent poor hitting in the lineup have caused some fans to start being concerned with where the team is headed.
We’re almost two months into the season now, so I expect the lineup to hopefully start to find its footing soon and become more consistent. We know the starting staff has a lot of talent, and it is time for them to start living up to their potential. If not, Clevinger has shown he is ready to step up and fill the void if given the chance, and I know there are a lot more hungry pitchers in columbus waiting for their shot. Ultimately, the Indians’ starters should be able to get healthy and produce the way we all know they can.