Two Debuts and the Indians Lose


Last night’s Tribe/Tigers tilt held more intrigue than most playing-out-the-string September games. Not only was Carlos Carrasco, the 22-year old right-hander, making his Major League debut, but in somewhat of a surprise, OF Michael Brantley, another 22-year old top prospect, was brought up and got the call in left field.

It turned into a tale of two games.

After jumping out to a 1-0 lead on a Shin-Soo Choo RBI single, the ball was handed to the kid. The first batter he faced, Curtis Granderson hit a gap shop to right-center. Luckily for Carrasco, somehow Granderson was thrown out trying to stretch a double into a triple. OK, no big deal, he dodged a bullet. Right? Nope. The next five hitters reached base.

Placido Polanco and Carlos Guillen hit back to back homers. Miguel Cabrera singled, Magglio Ordonez walked, and Aubrey Huff singled scoring Cabrera. After striking out Brandon Inge, Gerald Laird doubled in Ordonez. In the blink of an eye, it was 4-1. Nine men came to the plate against the kid in that first inning.

Indians Tigers Baseball“I was a little bit nervous when I went out there. May fastball was up,” said Carrasco. Truer words could not have been spoken. Literally every pitch the Tigers hit was up in the zone. You aren’t going to get major league hitters out that way.

You can say he settled down a little bit during his next two innings, but the results weren’t impressive. He put two on in the second (on a walk and a single) but was bailed out via the double play ball. In the third, Inge touched him up for a two-run shot to left. After three innings, Carrasco’s night was done.

His numbers: Three innings pitched, six earned runs, nine hits, three strikeouts, three walks.

“My biggest problem was my fastball. It was all over the place,” he said. “My other pitches were working, the slider and the change, just not the fastball.”  “He probably had the first-time jitters and we thought three innings were enough,” manager Eric Wedge said. “He did work hard to get through those three.”

Gas can extraordinaire Tomo Ohka came in for some long relief in the fourth and was touched up for a two-run double by Huff. With the Tribe now down 8-1, all hope was lost for the night. Or was it?

In the fifth after a leadoff double by Kelly Shoppach, Brantley got his first major league hit, a sharp single. Grady Sizemore doubled them both home and Tigers starter Edwin Jackson seemed to be wobbling a bit. After Sizemore scored on a Choo fly ball coupled with a Carlos Guillen error in left, Jhonny Peralta singled. Luis Valbuena followed with a double, outing runners on second and third with two out. Unfortunately, Matt LaPorta ended what could have been a big rally with a popout.

Andy Marte added a solo homer in the sixth to bring the Tribe to within three runs at 8-5, but that was as close as they could get.

“We had Jackson on the ropes, but let him off,” said Wedge.

Back to Brantley. Wearing David Justice’s old #23 (I always equate him with that number for some reason) and with a batting stance resembling Garret Anderson, the rookie outfielder had a very patient approach at the plate. He also showed his trademark wheels on an infield hit in the ninth. “I felt a lot of excitement in that first at-bat,” said Brantley. “It’s what every kid in America dreams about.” I promised him that I wouldn’t mention his first at-bat was an inning-ending double play.

With Sizemore’s elbow still an issue and Trevor Crowe soon to return from the disabled list, don’t be the least bit surprised it you see the Tribe’s centerpiece shut down at some point in the next couple of weeks. Brantley is a natural center fielder and I’m sure the Tribe brass is anxious to see how the kid handles his first taste of the big leagues. He is clearly a future core player on this team, so there is no time like the present to see what he can do.

Brantley and Jose Veras were brought up with the September 1 roster expansion yesterday. When the AAA season ends, Catcher Lou Marson will follow.

Aaron Laffey (7-3, 3.40 ERA) attempts to even the series tonight in Detroit against Tigers rookie Rick Porcello (11-8, 4.27 ERA).

(image via AP)

  • Boomhauer

    I know it’s only one game, but I have a feeling the Lee trade is going to be a complete disaster for Shapiro. I still don’t understand how you get less for a Cy Young winner with a year left on his contract than you did for one who was going to be a free agent.

  • Tron

    Carrasco definately had a rough night, but I’d chalk it up to nerves. Kid’s only 22 and it was his first MLB start. His pitches were sailing all over the place and he was sweating bullets. I was impressed with Brantley when he came up to bat. I don’t know if I’ve seen someone look more calm, he almost looked like he could have taken a nap. Aside from the DP ball in his 1st AB I think he had a pretty solid debut.

  • mike

    its WAY too early to make any guesses on how the lee trade will work out. everyone thought for sure the colon trade was a disaster and it worked out quite well. didnt shapiro have a few suitors last year for CC? i think this time around, philly was really the only legit suitor for lee and they knew the indians were selling high. they were in a great bargaining position to get Lee.

  • mgbode

    Perez didn’t look so hot his first game for us either….something about putting Wahoo on makes these kids nervous.

  • DK

    I didnt get to see a lot of the game last night, but from what I’ve seen in the highlights, if you want to call them that, is that carrasco wasnt able to locate the fastball…when you cant do that, youre screwed…he got hit really hard when he left them up and over the plate (who doesnt get killed when doing that)…hes still young, but his offspeed pitches looked nice…I think he will be ok after he gets a taste and gets used to it…

    Brantley looked good as far as his first few AB’s…again, I didnt see each AB so I can’t say he’s better than expected…but its encouraging to see him do well in his debut…

    its also nice to see Marte continuing his little surge of power…that seemed to be sorely lacking from his time in the bigs thusfar…i hope he continues his solid play…

  • Scott

    “something about putting Wahoo on makes these kids nervous.”

    Obviously, its those civil rights jitters…

    Few things:
    – Carrasco gave up twice as many earned runs last night in his three innings than Cliff Lee did in his first five starts with the Phillies (40 innings).
    – The over/under for a Sizemore shutdown is set at September 10th
    – Hafner’s could come four days later before the road trip to MIN and OAK
    – I could get used to this Brantley kid. Let’s hope he packs on some muscle in the offseason.

  • Isis

    1.) Nice debut from Brantley, speed kills. He’s a player, should have been
    on the roster long ago.
    2.) Carrasco is a second tier prospect, tagged as “distressed” property by
    the Phillies. For an understanding of what a tier one pitching prospect
    looks like, view the following:
    -Clay Buccholz
    -Daniel Bard
    -JA Happ
    After your viewing, let us know the difference.

  • JD

    Carrasco looked awful last night. Everything he threw in the first inning was belt-high and flat.

    With that said…it’s his first start. Most first starts seem to fall into one of two categories:

    1) Terribly Awful
    2) Suprisingly Amazing

    Sadly, Carrasco’s night fell into category #1. Using one night as an indicator to predict his entire career is downright ridiculous.

  • The Bambino

    I saw Justin Verlander’s MLB debut. Well, all two innings and 5 walks and 6ER of it…patience folks, give it some time.

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