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Fausto Carmona: Cleveland’s Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde

| On 26, Jul 2011

Anyone who has watched the Indians this season has had to notice that there seem to be two different Fausto Carmona’s pitching for the Tribe this season. Carmona has been brilliant in some games and downright awful in others. That’s not to say that all of Carmona’s losses have been horrible and all of his wins have been flawless. He has battled hard in most of his starts and has been a constant in the rotation, missing just a couple starts here and there. I can’t answer the question as to why he has these ups and downs, I can only examine them in detail.

Carmona started the season by throwing just three innings and giving up 11 hits and ten earned runs against the White Sox. Then, in his next three starts, he threw 21.2 innings, giving up just four runs and 11 hits in those three games, of which the Indians won two. The other was a battle with Dan Haren where he threw 7.2 innings giving up just two runs.

That stretch of brilliance was overshadowed by his next start in Minnesota where he gave up six runs and seven hits in just five innings of work against the Twins. But, in what we all thought was a turning point, his next three starts saw Fausto give up just three earned runs in 22 innings. All pitching coach Tim Belcher could have been thinking was “What is going on in this guy’s head?”

Carmona’s May 13th start against the Mariners was, overall, a decent start. He threw 7.2 innings and gave up four runs, keeping the Indians in the game and getting a no decision in the Tribe’s win. Then, he had to face the White Sox again. They picked up right where they left off on opening day, tagging Fausto for eight runs in just five innings. He followed that up with a strong, eight inning performance against Boston, giving up four runs but getting no support from his own offense.

Either he put an enormous amount of pressure on himself or didn’t have anything in the tank in his next start when he gave up nine runs in four innings of work against the Toronto Blue Jays. Another game of getting no run support (4 runs, 6.1 innings) against Texas and a bad outing (6 runs, 4 innings) against the Yankees saw the evil Carmona yet again. After a scrappy win (4 runs, 2 earned, 5 innings) against Detroit, he faultered again (7 runs, 4.2 innings) versus Colorado.

Since that game against Colorado, Fausto has thrown 20 innings and given up just 5 runs, including last night’s game that saw his team finally beat Dan Haren, throwing six innings of shutout baseball. He also got the best of the Twins last week as part of the Indians Double-Header sweep.

Obviously Carmona usually pitches better in a. Indians win than during a loss, but just how big is the difference? In games that Fausto has started and the Indians have ended up losing, his ERA is a very ugly 8.46 but in games the Indians win and Fausto starts it plummets to 1.78. Will we be stuck with this Jekyll and Hyde performance for the rest of the season or have these last few starts gotten Fausto back into the form that dominated the league in 2007? If the Indians want any chance of making the postseason this year, they better hope for the latter.

Photo: ESPN Cleveland

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