Yankees 14, Indians 1: One week in and the rotation is a big problem

Carlos CarrascoI am not one to panic. Especially with 150-plus games left on the schedule. The hot starts for the Tribe the last two years resulted in nothing. But obviously you would like to see the lesser parts of your team do well early to give them confidence as the season starts to build.

It was no secret that the weak link of the 2013 Cleveland Indians would be their starting rotation. All five spots offered question marks. Would Justin Masterson regain his 2011 form? On perhaps his last chance here, would Ubaldo Jimenez ever be the guy he was in Colorado? Would Brett Myers be able to transition back into being a starter after spending 2012 in the bullpen? Was Zach McAllister ready for prime time? Who would emerge from the group of candidates to become the fifth starter?

Well we aren’t even two turns through the rotation and the Indians are already going to be on their seventh different starting pitcher tonight when someone – probably Corey Kluber –  will be called up from Columbus. This doesn’t even include the man who won the fifth starter spot this Spring, Scott Kazmir. His injury set things in motion and they haven’t stopped.

One of those moving parts was last night’s starter, Carlos Carrasco. His six-game suspension for throwing at the head of Billy Butler in July of the 2011 season was reduced to five games and with the struggle of Myers in his first start, the decision was made to move Carrasco up. Myers would be scheduled to go tonight. The last remaining non-backup-catching hope from the Cliff Lee trade took his shot to make an impression on his new manager.

He managed to dance out of a two on nobody out jam in the first without giving up a run, but it was a sign of things to come. An inning later with two outs, the soft bottom of the Yankees order went to work on Carrasco. Eduardo Nunez singled just past the out-stretched arm of Asdrubal Cabrera at short. Lyle Overbay followed with a sharp single up the middle. Carrasco then shot himself in the foot by walking ninth place hitter Francisco Cervelli, which you just cannot do. Back to the top of the order we went, where Brett Gardner singled in two to put the Yanks on top. The suddenly red-hot Robinson Cano followed with a laser shot to center, which was misplayed by Drew Stubbs into a two-run double. Stubbs is usually as sure handed as they come, but he read the ball poorly, filling in for Michael Bourn who was given the night off. In the third, Ichiro Suzuki lined a home run into the right field bullpen off of Carrasco.

Then came the fourth. Again, the Tribe’s right-hander decided to wait until there were two out before he imploded. He walked Gardner then gave up an opposite field two-run bomb to Cano. At 7-0, it was time to see how Carrasco would respond. He came up and in on the next batter, Kevin Youkilis, and drilled him. Home plate umpire Jordan Baker tossed him from the game. So in his last start in the bigs, Carrasco was tossed and subsequently suspended for the same thing he did last night. Carrasco claims no ill intent and that he “slipped.” Yet he will probably see another suspension from the Commissioner’s office. After the game, Carrasco was waiting for Francona to apologize to him, and denied throwing at Youkilis on purpose.

“I know it doesn’t look good. I really want to say sorry. I don’t want to hit anybody,” he said.

Carlos will probably have to wait on the suspension considering he will most likely be sent out today to make room for Kluber.

Why is Kluber needed you ask? Because Francona decided to go with Myers, Wednesday’s scheduled starter, to replace Carrasco with two outs in the fourth.

At this point, the only thing left to see was how Myers would pitch, considering his last time out he was blasted by the Blue Jays for seven earned runs in five innings, including four home runs. I have been on record as saying that Myers was my biggest concern. He did nothing to alleviate my feelings last week in Toronto. Last night, he was almost as bad, but at least he did Francona one favor. “Brett saved our bullpen. So hopefully we can win a game tomorrow night.”

Myers was asked to wear this one, and that he did. For five and a third innings, the Yankees treated him like their personal pinata. Youkilis, Overbay, and Detroit castoff Brennan Boesch all touched up Myers for long balls. He finished out the game going five and a third, allowing an almost identical stat line to his first outing: seven earned runs on 11 hits, including three homers. In case you are scoring at home, the guy the front office chose to give $7 million to as a middle of the rotation innings eater, has pitched 10.1 innings and has given up 14 runs with seven home runs allowed.

Is it time to panic? I still say it is way too early, but outside of Justin Masterson, the starters have been utterly disastrous. How does  30 IP, 32 H, 27 ER, 17 K/16 BB, 10 HR look to you?

Meanwhile, the offense couldn’t muster anything against the venerable lefty Andy Pettitte. Pitching with a big lead is usually a breeze, especially for a guy like Pettitte. Only Cabrera’s solo homer kept the Tribe from being shutout.

The old baseball adage says “momentum is the next day’s starting pitcher.” As of right now, we don’t know who that will be, but I suspect it will be Kluber, who was scheduled to go for Columbus tonight. He will face right-hander Ivan Nova who couldn’t make it out of the fifth against the Detroit Tigers in his first start last week.

 (photo via Chuck Crow/The Plain Dealer)

  • MSkog

    Panic? Did you say don’t panic? It’s hard to read this with my head in the oven.

  • boomhauertjs

    Sigh…that’s all I’ve got after last night…

  • mgbode

    do you have your towel?

  • mgbode

    do you have your towel?

  • mgbode

    let’s look at the positive side of things. Tito realized that the game was a tire-fire, so he threw out Myers so we wouldn’t be guaranteed to be subjected to it 3 games in a row. we still might, but it’s not guaranteed.

  • Garry_Owen

    How many days until OTAs?

  • Harv 21

    All these starters (including Masterson) might look very different in two weeks, so the worst part is another Tribe PR disaster getting blown out opening week in front of more casual fans at the Jake because the Yankees are in town.

    But must say that Einstein Carrasco is challenging my long-held belief that there is no such thing as “too stupid” in a baseball player. He is a legend in the making, worthy of an anecdote in someone’s future book about Cleveland sports futility. Your last start 2 seasons ago resulted in a suspension, and your first start back as fringe 5th starter you do the exact same thing? Savor this, folks, it’s an instant classic. In the same year that the new Browns GM is forbidden to speak publicly! Looove it.

  • Vindictive_Pat

    Didn’t the front office pick up Myers to be an innings eater? I am sure he was preparing to pitch today and was surprised to be called on yesterday. Myers really sucked in his first outing, but Francona didn’t do him any favors yesterday. With that said, Kluber almost certainly can’t be worse than either of yesterday’s pitchers.

  • Garry_Owen

    I think he must have eaten some innings before the game, then vomited them all over the place when he got on the mound.

  • LaundroMat

    Good thought, but do you really need to remind everyone of something you said on a post a while back? Maybe Harv 21 can confirm, but I think “megalomania” is the word for that…

  • Vindictive_Pat

    Here’s what I don’t get… is Francona already indicating that Myers isn’t someone he can trust as a starter? Does Cliff Lee get thrown in to pitch the 4th inning the day before his next start if Halladay craps the bed? What the heck is the go-forward plan here?

  • mgbode

    fair enough. I was trying to use it as evidence that I do not believe we are seeing an aberration from Myers and that this is just who he is as a pitcher. That article happened to be a link at the bottom of this one for me and I had already summed up why.

    it’s not like thinking Myers was going to be a disaster was unique thinking 🙂

  • Harv 21

    here’s what Tom Hamilton was theorizing during last night’s broadcast: the pen is getting drilled because the starters keep going like 5 innings, there are no scheduled off-days, McAllister is scheduled to go tonight on short rest but the weather forecast is bad and some chance of a rainout. If rainout, McAllister works on normal rest, the pen catches it’s breath and the rotation is reset.

  • mgbode

    go-forward plan involves Tito pretending that he is getting lost on the way to the ballpark and keeps ending up at the Old Stone Church.

  • If by “innings” you mean “bacon,” then yes, Myers is evidently an innings eater. I know it’s early, but it seems apparent already–what a waste of a $7m “flyer” on this guy.

  • Garry_Owen

    The go-forward plan?

    Chicken and beer!!!!

  • ThatAlex

    McCalister is not actually pitching on short rest. He last pitched on Friday, today is Wednesday. 5 games as normal. 🙂

  • FearTheRoo

    8 games in and the season is done.

  • mgbode

    one of these days, you are going to post something positive in an otherwise negative toned thread and Blow.Our.Minds

  • Vindictive_Pat

    Aren’t we supposed to win a couple of World Series titles first? No skipping steps!

  • Garry_Owen

    By bringing in Tito, we actually get credit for the 2 titles that he won in Boston (it’s a sub-sub-sub-clause in the MLB Charter). We can go directly to chicken and beer.

  • Vindictive_Pat


    Speaking of subs… mmmmmmmm. I’ll be back in 60.

  • Whoa.. Carrasco said he was waiting for an apology from Francona? For what?! Kid obviously didn’t learn his lesson after he had almost 2 years to think about it.

  • Kildawg

    McAllister can pitch tonight on normal rest (he looked like a legit starter his first outing on Friday but had no offensive support), and maybe Bauer gets recalled for Thursday on normal rest (at least he pitched 5 innings). Send Carrasco to single A to get his head straight. (I actually tweeted that last sentence last night, or something similar.)

  • Garry_Owen

    I believe Carrasco was waiting for Francona so that he (Carrasco) could apologize (to Francona).

  • Funniest damn thing I have read!

  • Garry_Owen

    But that’s not even my “A” game. I can do better. I know it!

  • The_Real_Shamrock

    So do I!

  • The_Real_Shamrock

    Tip for Zach: don’t pitch to #24, he’s en fuego!

  • Very well done.

  • Steve

    12k last night. No casual fans came.

  • Harv 21

    Go on, challenge me. But never, ever challenge Hammy.

    But really, who the hell cares. It’s April 10 and but for Carrasco’s classic idiocy not one reader would remember anything about this game in August.

  • Harv 21

    None. None? But I know you get the point: inordinate attention is paid to the opening home series against the Yanks. These stinker homecoming games are a buzzkill to the excitement of the off-season.

    But I know you love to argue with me, so go on.

  • Steve

    Pointing out important facts is arguing? I get your point, but do you get mine? It really doesn’t matter how the Tribe does early on, people won’t show up unless there’s a perfect storm – new stadium, no Browns, strong team, and an incredibly weak division that all but guarantees a division title as long as they can figure out how to button up their jerseys properly.