Carlos Carrasco is on fire for the Indians

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Indians right-hander Carlos Carrasco came one out short of his first career shutout on Sunday afternoon in Cleveland, firing 8 2/3 scoreless innings against the visiting White Sox. He was lifted at 103 pitches after allowing a two-out single to Jose Abreu in the top of the ninth inning. Cody Allen was called on to get the save in a 2-0 victory for the home team.

Carrasco yielded just four hits and struck out eight Chicago batters without issuing a walk. He’s been ace-like since returning to the Indians’ rotation on August¬†5, boasting a 0.70 ERA and 42/4 K/BB ratio spanning five starts and 38 2/3 innings. This run of dominance actually dates back to late April, when he was moved to the bullpen and began to shine.

“Pitching out of stretch. Cutting down pregame program. Really has taken relief mentality to starting,” is how MLB.com Indians beat writer Jordan Bastian described Carrasco’s emergence on Sunday.

Carrasco had a spot on Baseball America‘s Top 100 Prospects rankings in his age 20, 21, and 22 seasons, and he was a major piece of the package that the Phillies gave to the Indians for Cliff Lee in July 2009.

Now the Venezuelan is blossoming at age 27 for an Indians team that has won three straight games and might still have time to sneak into the playoffs. They’re five games back of the Royals in the American League Central and 3 1/2 games back of the Mariners for the second American League Wild Card spot.