Stephanie Storm’s final thoughts on the Indians 4-2 loss to the visiting Detroit Tigers Tuesday that wasted an impressive start by right-handed starting pitcher Carlos Carrasco and another one of the few dwindling opportunities remaining to stay in the post season race.
1) The Tribe may have dropped their second consecutive loss to the Tigers at the start of this four-game series at Progressive Field, but the visitor’s victory came late and surprisingly against closer Cody Allen, who dished up a three-run home run to the Tigers Indian killer that is Martinez -J.D. Martinez not only former Tribe catcher Victor Martinez.
2) A cast off that the Houston Astros cut and the Tigers picked up off the scrap heap, J.D. Martinez has pummeled the Tribe lately as much as Victor has had a history of doing since the Indians shipped him to the Boston Red Sox in 200TK.
3) In 11 games versus the Indians to date this season, J.D. Martinez is hitting at a .349 clip with five home runs and 14 RBI. His late-inning heroics Tuesday were eerily reminiscent to his game-tying, ninth-inning longball – once again coming against Allen - nearly four months ago in May.
4) This time around, Martinez smashed an Allen fastball 418 feet to deep center field to turn a one-run lead into a two-run deficit just like that. With Allen struggling from the get go to throw his off-speed pitches for strikes, he walkedTorri Hunter to start the ninth inning and followed by allowing a single up the middle by the always dangerous Miguel Cabrera.
“I was overthrowing it,” Allen said. “I didn’t make the pitches where I had to. I fell behind, had to throw to good hitters and threw hittable pitches. They didn’t miss them.”
5) Before all the late damage, however, Carrasco channeled his inner Houdini after allowing 10 hits and a walk, but stranding nine base runners while racking up a career-high 10 K’s.
“From the second to the last inning, they (had) like 20 hits,” Carrasco said, “but no runs.”
“Big ups to Carrasco,” Hunter said. “That guy throws 96-98 (mph), his slider is good, and his split-finger is pretty good. We knew what he was going to throw - but we couldn’t hit it.”
6) For a guy like Indians manager Terry Francona, whose had a front seat to Carrasco’s transformation this season up close, Tuesday’s performance was a welcome sight.
“He really dug deep,” Francona said. “That was really something. He pitched out of so many binds and executed some unbelievable pitches. It flew past encouraging. They made him work really hard and they got him out of there a little bit earlier.(But) that’s a difficult lineup. And until we got nicked up in the ninth, we did a really good job – they stranded a lot of runners.”
As for the lasting impression made by Carrasco the past month since returning to the startingt rotation last month, Francona said his beleief in Carrasco’s ability is unwavering.
“I’m already convinced or we wouldn’t be starting him,” the veteran manager said. “I don’t think any game will define him. I think what he’s done over the last four months does. He’s come a long way.”
7) Just how far has Carrasco come ? Consider that his double digit strikeouts marked the 13th time this season an Indians starter has recorded 10 or more in a game: Corey Kluber leads the way with eight, followed by one a piece by Trevor Bauer, Josh Tomlin, Justin Masterson, Danny Salazar and Carrasco. The 13 double-digit strikeouts is the second most in majors. The Tampa Bay Rays lead the way with 16.
8) In an ironic twist of fate, Tigers starter Kyle Lobstein – a rookie left-hander - matched Carrasco strikeout for strikeout, by also piling up 10 strikeouts in his 5 1/3 innings. Tuesday’s was the first time the Indians have been involved in one with both starters reaching 10 strikeouts or more since July 29, 2007 against Minnesota when the Twins Matt Garza and Tribe’s C.C. Sabathia each registered 11 strikeouts.
9) Tuesday’s game also marked the first time that any Major League game has seen each club’s starters turn in 10-plus strikeouts in six innings or fewer since June 22, 2008 – Detroit’s Justin Verlander (10 K; 5.1 IP) earned a 5-3 win over San Diego’s Randy Wolf (10 K; 6.0 IP).
10)Before the game, all the talk about the Indains starting pitching centered around the previous day’s starter -Kluber – who is nearing 200 innings for the first time in his young career. When Monday’s 12-1 beating by the Tigers was underway, the Indians pulled their right-handed ace after a season-low 2 2/3 innings in an effort to save him as much as possible for the remainder of the late stretch run.
“That’s one of the reasons we got him out of there,” Callaway said. “A month ago, we probably would have left him out there and he’d have gone six (innings). (But) we obviously had the luxury of doing it (coming on Sept. 1 with roster expansion) with call-ups and we had McAllister up here to get some length. But we also had Kluber(‘s best interests) in mind when we thought about it. (We figured), ‘let’s get him out there, let him throw 57 pitches or whatever it was and come back (for his next start in five days) and finish strong.”