Smoke Signals: Cookie on a roll, Hosey on a run

Plus: updates on Martin, others injured

Alex Hooper
August 17, 2018 - 11:21 pm
Aug 17, 2018; Cleveland, OH, USA; Cleveland Indians starting pitcher Carlos Carrasco begins the game pitching to Baltimore Orioles Cedric Mullins at Progressive Field.

© Scott R. Galvin-USA TODAY Sports


Cleveland, OH (92.3 The Fan) – When a pitcher who is arguably the third-best on his team in a given season also leads the league in wins, things are probably going pretty well.

Granted, pitcher wins are among the silliest statistics in baseball, based almost purely on circumstance rather than personal performance, but having them is better than not.

Carlos Carrasco moved into a tie for the American League lead in wins (15) on Friday night, spinning a seven inning gem against the lowly Baltimore Orioles. Among those tied is Carrasco’s teammate Corey Kluber.

The righty retired the last 10 birds he faced, allowing just three hits and striking out six in his outing.

Though it has not been just the hapless O’s that Cookie has been crumbling, rather every team he faces. Carrasco has not allowed an earned run in his last 18 1/3 innings, dating back to his only losing decision since June 16, on August 7 against the Minnesota Twins.

Of course, Carrasco missed 20 days of action after Joe Mauer’s liner struck the pitcher on the inside of his elbow, sending him to the disabled list on the night of June 16th. Since his return on July 6, has allowed just 10 earned runs over 52 innings (1.73 ERA), and had a 2.45 FIP entering Friday.

Shorten that span to the time since the All-Star break, and Carrasco’s 1.33 ERA (6 ER over 40 2/3 IP) is second best in the AL behind Boston lefty David Price’s 1.03 mark.

By all accounts, Carrasco and Manager Terry Francona have said that perhaps the DL stint was good for the 30-year-old. The pitcher himself reiterated that idea postgame.

“Nobody wants to go on the DL, but I’m glad I went to the DL to fix some little things in there and that’s what it takes sometimes, 2-3 weeks, just getting it back stronger, mentally, physically, everything,” he said. “I think at this point I feel fine, I can’t wait to start pitching every five days.”

Switch places

José Ramírez’s two-run home run not only set the stage for Carrasco’s 15th win, holding up over the final eight innings as the only Indians score, but it again put the AL MVP candidate on pace for more history.

Ramírez did tie Boston’s J.D. Martinez for the Major League lead in home runs, but it also put him in the conversation with Mickey Mantle.

The third baseman’s 37 home runs are the most by a switch hitter through 121 team games since Mantle’s 45 in the 1961 season. The Mick went on to hit 54 longballs, the most in a single season by a switch hitter.

One of the Tribe

Just because Indians OF Leonys Martin only played six games with his new club does not mean he is not very much a part of the team.

The organization released an update saying that Martin, who has been battling a life-threatening bacterial infection, is now out of intensive care and is progressing.

Francona and Bench Coach Brad Mills visited Martin at the Cleveland Clinic during Thursday’s off-day. When they arrived, the outfielder was flanked by a full room of teammates.

“He was sitting up, there were no tubes, he looked really good,” Francona said of Martin. “Guys are young and strong. From all accounts, he wasn’t looking very good not too long ago. He looked really good.”

On the mend

The original prognosis for DH Edwin Encarnacion’s return from the disabled list was that he would be activated when eligible. That idea has been downgraded to ‘questionable,’ per Francona.

Encarnacion is expected to resume taking normal batting practice by the end of the weekend, and is still feeling ‘mild symptoms’ in his bruised right hand. Francona added the 35-year-old is feeling no symptoms in his left biceps, which had become an issue while playing through the hand injury.

Other injury updates are as follows:

  • OF Lonnie Chisenhall (calf) is doing ground-based running, but mostly on the AlterG non-weight-bearing treadmill. He is still throwing and hitting regularly.
  • OF Tyler Naquin (hip) has progressed to riding a stationary bike.
  • RP Nick Goody (elbow) is currently in Goodyear, Arizona and will throw a simulated game in the upcoming week
  • RP Cody Anderson (elbow) has begun to throw live batting practice, and will throw a rehab game ‘in the not-too-distant future.’