I didn't think Carlos Carrasco had another eight shutout innings in him. He didn't, but seven shutout innings was good enough to end another skid.
June 13th 2011
Cleveland Indians - 1
New York Yankees - 0
W: Ivan Nova (6-3) L: A.J. Burnett (6-5) SV: Chris Perez (16)
The Indians can't continue to win games by hitting solo home runs, or getting one run behind a Carlos Carrasco shutout.
But that's how they are managing to win SOME games, so let's not complain while the offense goes through whatever it is they are going through.
If not for Carlos Carrasco though, the Indians wouldn't have the last two wins. To kick off June, he had that start against Texas. And in that start against Texas, he regressed. He suffered through some of the stuff that has plagued him in the past and some of the stuff that convinced Philadelphia he was expendable. A year after they wouldn't part with him for CC, they were willing to give him up for Cliff Lee.
And when he came here, you could see why. To me, it looked like he turned that corner until that start against Texas.
Well I think he's turned that corner now. The two starts following that up, against Minnesota and last night against New York, he's been brilliant.
Now last night started a little rocky. He gave up two singles and walked Teixeira to start the first. Miraculously, he edged his way out against a dangerous lineup. A hot-A-Rod, Cano, and Nick Swisher. It takes a lot of guts to do that. Old Carrasco may have imploded right there.
And it looked like, even though he may not struggle, he was going to labor in this one. Because turn around in the second and he does it again. A single and a walk to start the inning and he's once again into some trouble. But just like the previous inning, he edges past Cervelli, Jeter, and super-red-hot Curtis Granderson.
And if you thought it was over after that. You'd be wrong. Carrasco started off the inning again with a baserunner. After an out, Cano singled and for the third straight inning, he had a runner in scoring position with less than two outs.
But a Swisher double play essentially ended all the chances the Yankees had, because they'd gain one hit the rest of the game, a Cano single in the sixth.
"I can't say enough about the job he did," Indians manager Manny Acta said. "It's very tough against this lineup, in this ballpark, to keep them down like that."
But Acta wasn't ready to call him a stopper. I'd have to side with Chris Perez though. This is a huge step in his career. He's going to get a lot of confidence from these two road starts, especially against this one against the Yankees. To do what he did to that lineup. To get out of three jams to start the inning. Perhaps that's why he took off in the final four like he did.
It ought to make you feel invisible to go through the Yankee lineup that way. I certainly would feel like I was untouchable if I could load up the bases and not let them score.
Carrasco then turned it over to the pen, who, least we forget is still pretty awesome in their own right. And they displayed how awesome they are. Pestano walked one, but Sipp and Vinnie combine to figure out the eighth and one big fat exclamation mark on the ninth inning with Rage striking out the side.
I think Chris is hitting his stride. .For him to come out and strike out the side, shows he's really in the zone.
And with all that, you don't need more than one run. You'd certainly like it, but again, the win is what counts.
That run came from who else but Asdrubal Cabrera. In the cleanup spot, for the problem the first time in his life, he managed to punch one through to score the only run of the game. He knocked in Michael Brantley, who was hitting in the third spot for problem the first time in his life. More on the adjusted lineup in a bit.
If not for Cabrera's hit, the RISP woes would have continued. The Indians were abysmal in this series with runners in scoring position. If you thought the Twins series was bad, the Yankees one was just as bad, if not worse.
Choo had a hit, but struck out two more times. Sizemore doubled. But like the Yankees, had just five hits on the night. They walked just once though, so the Indians had less opportunities to score than New York did. That says even more about how big Carrasco was.
And as for hitting in a spot for the first time in your life, Carlos Santana probably has never hit in the two hole. He went 0-for-4 with a strikeout.
Cords Phelps struck out twice and was replaced at second with Orlando Cabrera. It makes you wonder if Acta values Cabrera's defense more at second, or else he would have kept Cord in there. It wasn't like he pinch-hit for him.
Travis Buck made his first start since his car accident late last week when the team arrived in New York. Good to see him back.
Lou Marson was once again catching Carlos Carrasco. Former Philly farm-hands may have a good rapport with each other. May have to make that a permanent move the way he's pitching with Marson behind the dish. The offense certainly can't do any worse.
[THE LINEUP SHUFFLE]
So once again, Manny Acta adjusted his lineup in a drastic way. On Sunday, in response to fixing the offense, Acta said he had a few more tricks up his sleeve and then indicated for everyone to watch tomorrow. Well tomorrow came and tomorrow had a lot of interesting shuffling.
Grady Sizemore turned to the leadoff spot. But the moves around that indicate it may not be permanent and just Acta trying out new and different configurations. Because he shifted Michael Brantley into the three-hole and Asdrubal Cabrera became his clean-up hitter.
Santana moves up to two and everything else basically remains the same with Choo hitting fifth.
In a way, it makes sense. Your two best hitters lately have been Brantley and Cabrera. Brantley has reached base and Cabrera knocks 'em in. Who cares if they are not you're prototypical 3-4 hitters? They hit, so put them in the chunk of the order.
"I talked to those guys," Acta said. "I'm not expecting any one of them to change their approach at the plate. Just be the hitter you are, because you only hit third or fourth one time -- that's it. Once that lineup starts rolling over, everybody is just a hitter hitting behind and in front of somebody else. We're going to give it a few days to see how it works."
Acta says they have to keep adapting and adjusting. After the game, Acta said both were int he middle of it, but others have to get involved.
And that's the key right there. You read Acta saying that "they have to keep adapting and adjusting" and it isn't him. That is not the way Acta runs his ship. If you remember, this is the guy that plays all his bench players at once in an effort to have the same consistent lineup out there 90 percent of the time. This is the guy who wants to have a uniform lineup, to let his players know where they are going to be.
To not have them guessing when they get to the park.
So when I read "we need to keep adjusting" I can't help but feel that Acta is simply just grasping at straws in an effort to kick start someone. He's tried talking, he's tried holding meetings, he's probably tried everything else to get players like Choo and Santana going, but it isn't working. So now he's moving them in the order. The fact of the matter is, you can put Brantley and Cabrera at the bottom of the order, the only thing it will mean is that they get fewer at-bats. If they're going to hit, they're going to hit.
They need help and that's the only thing that is going to get this offense going. Not a dramatic switch of the lineup. Now if the switch of the lineup gets one or two of those other players going, then awesome. But simply changing things isn't going to be the cure-all to this.
[CLEVELAND FAN EXTRA INNINGS]
To further that notion. Chris Antonetti talked about making additions or bringing up youngsters prior to Sunday's game. Again, that is not a cure-all. Sure it could bring someone to hit around those guys, but what are you going to do right now? As we are seeing, Cord Phelps is struggling with his transition to the major leagues. That isn't to say it will continue or that someone else will struggle like him, but it should make you think twice.
Antonetti said that in the next few weeks, as June starts to weed out the teams that don't belong, there will be a better understanding of who and what is available. As you can see by the standings, not only are the Tigers there, but the White Sox have made a charge of their own. This race is far from over and far from being a two-horse race. So there are plenty of teams still in it, or believing they can still be in it right now. Very few will be looking to deal, even if they are not in a position to contend.
And in terms of Lonnie Chisenhall and Jason Kipnis And I believe if the Indians are to make "additions" it will be through the farm system first. The one definite area they can improve in offensively is third base. Regardless of what or who bounces back. Jack Hannahan is what he is and that's something we know.
Antonetti said there are periods where Chisenhall has struggled with his swing a little pit through stretches. Now if this was a Santana situation where he lit it up early and hit a little "down to earth" point, then I'd say, bring him up right now. But the inconsistency in Chisenhall seems to make me lean toward keeping him down a little longer til he shows a little more.
The other part of me though... That part says, push him up now and see how he responds. But that part of me also remembers that third base isn't a black hole. The guy there now plays pretty solid defense, so the need isn't needed as much as it was last year at this time.
So for now... Stand pat. The biggest addition needed, is Travis Hafner.
Travis Hafner is scheduled to be in Akron today, or at least tomorrow. Or soon. Sometime this week. Now. Five minutes. He's coming and he's coming fast. Either way, he's making a rehab visit and that means he could be in the lineup really really soon. And the Indians are at home this weekend, so fingers crossed they get some games out of him as a starter before the road Interleague schedule starts up.
And can you blame Acta for being giddy?
"I can't wait," Indians manager Manny Acta said. "His presence alone means a lot to our lineup. That being said, he has to be smart and make sure when he joins us that he's ready to go."
We saw the Bullpen Mafia at the MLB FanCave on Friday and now Monday morning another Indian visited. The guys that are watching every single MLB game inside a specially made "Man Cave" have taken a liking to Jack Hannahan. How could they not?
We certainly have in Cleveland. Why else would he be Super Mannahan? To Ryan Wagner and Mike O'Hara, he's actually "The Celtic Superhero of the Cuyahoga." I like it, a little long, but I like it. I can't wait to see these videos whenever they come out.
"During the first week of the season, we noticed this guy playing third base for the Tribe and just diving all over the field and coming up with key hits. It seemed like every time we watched the Indians, Jack Hannahan did something great. Mike and I are both very proud to be Irish, Jack is obviously an Irish guy, as well, and we just sort of adopted him. He became our hero here at the Fan Cave."
Just know that Hannahan was in a kilt.
And in terms of nicknames. Carlos Carrasco is actually called "Cookie" by his teammates because he loves to eat cookies. We'll stick with CarÂ˛ because we came up with it, but Cookie Carrasco has a nice ring to it.
Because I missed Sunday's game, I also missed Orlando Cabrera's 2000th hit. Cabrera said he was thinking about it, so perhaps now that he's got it, he can put it all behind him and continue this season.
"I'd be lying to you if I said I wasn't thinking about it," he said. "I really think I'm an honest guy. So I will not lie. I will not make up any story. Yeah, I was thinking about it a lot."
Congrats to Uncle O either way. He's had a great career thus far.
I was on vacation in the Pocono Mountains, and as mentioned, I didn't get a chance to see the game on Sunday. But I did get to see the second half of the game on Saturday, as the hotel I stayed in had the YES Network. Great timing on the schedulers part this year. That was the good part. The bad part was that the hotel I stayed in had the YES Network.
Mitch Talbot and Manny Acta are hopeful that penalties will be avoided for the hit on Alex Rodriguez. I'm not hopeful, but will absolutely go off on MLB if they fine Talbot. I'm not hopeful, because, I have nothing to be hopeful for. There is absolutely no reason that Talbot deserves to get fined and he didn't deserve to get ran.
"Hopefully I don't get fined," Talbot said. "[Iassogna] was the only person in the entire stadium who thought it was on purpose."
Actually, he wasn't. The reason I bring up the YES Network. Their entire broadcast crew was pretty convinced Talbot did it on purpose. It just goes to show you how biased they are. The entire portion of the game I watched they acted as if Talbot and Carmona were doing this stuff on purpose. They were openly complaining about the fact that the Yankees get hit a lot and saying it was all because "they are so good at hitting the home run ball."
Hogwash. Even Yankee announcers whine.
[RAFAEL PEREZ TWEET WATCH]
Today, Rafael Perez tw.........irled his fingers in the air. And waved his hands like he just didn't care. I'm running out of material.
Days Without a Tweet: 27
You can follow Nino on Twitter @TheTribeDaily where he plans to tweet about Jack Hannahan in a kilt. You can also read more Morning Rundown and other features at his blog, The Tribe Daily.