In Monday’s home opener against the New York Yankees, Ubaldo Jimenez was asked by Tribe manager Terry Francona to leave the mound early, in the fifth inning. That was mostly due to ineffectiveness and the fact the visitors were lighting up the Progressive Field score board.
On Tuesday night, starter Carlos Carrasco (0-1) was equally ineffective against those same Yankees as the Indians were soundly defeated 14-1. He, however, was asked to exit the ball game early by home plate umpire Jordan Baker before the New York half of the the fourth was complete.
In a scene eerily reminiscent of a 2011 incident, Carrasco was ejected from Tuesday’s ball game for beaning Kevin Youkilis with two down in the fourth inning. It came one pitch after Robinson Cano mashed his third home run of the season. It was the second bomb of the game and seventh run surrendered by Carrasco. Baker determined Carrasco was probably taking his anger out on Youkilis and history says that may have been the case.
Carrasco just finished serving a five game suspension for plunking Kansas City’s Billy Butler on the heels of a grand slam in a late-July 2011 contest. Tuesday night was Carrasco’s first start since Aug. 2011 as he underwent Tommy John surgery shortly after the Royals fiasco. Francona said he was not convinced Carrasco was trying to nail Youilis, but admitted the pitcher’s past probably played into the decision.
“It didn’t look good,” Francona said. “I understand it. I understand the ump’s viewpoint. (Carassco) was throwing 96-97 miles per hour. If you look at the video, it looked like he slipped. He threw it 90. But, it didn’t look good.”
Between getting rocked early and then being tossed, Carrasco did an already overworked Tribe pitching staff few favors. In an effort to save his bullpen from early-season burnout, Francona inserted Brett Myers into the contest to eat up innings. Myers was scheduled to start Wednesday’s game. Zach McAllister will take Myers’ scheduled outing as the former reliever worked 5.1 innings, matching Carrasco’s seven runs allowed. Still, Myers did his job in taking the beating from New York’s bats and saving the bullpen for future dates.
“We had Brett on reserve for tonight in case Carlos did get beat,” Francona said. “Brett did save our bullpen.”
The contest did not start too badly for the home team as Carrasco did not come undone until the second inning. He actually threw a scoreless first.
In the second, New York jumped out to a 4-0 lead. A single by Brett Gardner and double from Cano each plated a pair. Ichiro Suzuki added a solo blast in the third inning and Cano’s long ball in the fourth was of the two-run variety. Watching all the running around the bases apparently got tiresome from Carrasco as that’s when he uncorked his wild pitch.
Myers managed to keep New York’s bats at bay with a scoreless fifth inning. However, he channeled his inner Carrasco, coughing up a two-run homer to Youkilis and putting the Tribe in a 9-0 hole against New York veteran hurler Andy Pettitte (2-0).
“That’s a tough way to play,” Francona said of the early deficit. “Then you’ve got a guy on the mound who knows what to do with a lead.”
Nine runs was plenty for Pettitte, who would have been fine with only a pair of runs from his offense. The Yankee veteran did not make a mistake until the sixth when Indians shortstop Asdrubal Cabrera connected on his second homer of the year.
The Yankees’ offense, missing much of its star power due to injury, was not content in just winning big. They blew the doors off the Indians. New York added another four-spot in the eighth inning, highlighted by a Lyle Overbay home run and Cano’s second double and third extra base hit of the evening.
New York added a final tally in the ninth inning to close out the scoring and the forgettable night for Cleveland’s pitching staff.
Aside from Cabrera’s homer, Drew Stubbs and Nick Swisher were the lone highlights for an Indians offense that muster just seven hits. Stubbs and Swisher had two apiece. Stubbs, making his first start in center field had a pair of doubles.
“(Stubbs) swung the bat well,” Francona said. “That’s good to see. On a night like tonight, you take every positive that you can.”
When McAllister takes the the hill against the Yankees Wednesday he will actually be going on normal rest. He and Myers initially had their next two starts pushed back a day to make room for Carrasco in the rotation. Cleveland will need to find a Thursday starter, likely heading to Triple-A Columbus again.
The Indians will see a little sooner if they can snap its two-game losing streak and try to rebound Wednesday against a Yankees squad that has outscored them 25-6 in the first two games of this series. McAllister (0-1, 3.00 ERA) will be opposed by the Yankees’ Ivan Nova (0-1, 7.71 ERA). Game time is scheduled for 7:05 p.m. at Progressive Field.
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