Carlos Carrasco’s breakout season was a long time coming. He was a key part of the Cliff Lee trade back in 2009 but since then he has spent part of five seasons in Cleveland — and a lot of time on I-71 between Cleveland and Columbus — not quite living up to his promise. In the past couple of years he has done time as a swingman and some time in Terry Francona’s doghouse. Not the bad one where knuckleheads go, but that slightly nicer one where guys who just can’t quite be trusted with a regular job end up.
He’s certainly putting all of that business to rest now, however. Last night Carrasco turned in his best performance ever, tossing a Maddux — a complete game shutout with fewer than 100 pitches — and managing to strike out 12 dudes while doing it. That’s a pretty neat trick too because sources close to Major League Baseball tell me on background that one needs at least three pitches in order to strike someone out.
Of course, when you walk only one guy and allow only two hits, however, you can get that done. Not that it’s happened often: the creator of the Maddux statistic, Jason Lukehart, tells us in the ATH comments this morning that the only other guy to toss a Maddux with as many as 12 Ks is Cliff Lee.
This isn’t an isolated performance, either. Carrasco has allowed one or no runs in seven of his last eight starts. In April he had a 6.46 ERA in four starts. Since then his month-by-month ERA looks like this: 2.92, 1.26, 0.93, 1.92, 1.53.
Between Carrasco and Kluber, the Indians are going to show up on a lot of people’s “teams to watch” lists next spring.