A day after getting blown out, the Tribe managed to fashion a couple of late-inning rallies and beat Oakland. The story of the day for Cleveland was Fausto Carmona who has now strung together 27.1 innings of 2.96 ERA pitching to start the season.
Fausto still exhibits considerable red flags, namely his 13:12 K:BB ratio, but he's looked much, much better in his first four starts this season than he did at nearly any point over the last two. When he gets into trouble because of groundball singles, he remains composed and finds a way to keep throwing strikes. He's not at all the same pitcher he was in 2007: his GO:AO ratio is well under 1.5, a far cry from the 2.5 he used to live at when he was a dominant sinkerballer. His stuff, however, is still the same filth it was in 2007 and a lot of the contact he induces in the air looks as pathetic as a weak groundout. For today, there's nothing to complain about with Carmona. He did not walk a single batter and didn't allow any extra base hits.
Manny Acta continues to show a willingness to shuffle the lineup that was absent from the Eric Wedge era: today we saw Mark Grudzielanek in the two-spot, Austin Kearns in the cleanup (and playing CF) and Andy Marte batting 7th with Matt LaPorta and his struggling bat sliding down. This was also LaPorta's first start this year in LF and, although I didn't see the whole game, it appears it went without incident. Feel free to correct me if I'm wrong on that. All of Acta's rearranging paid off as Kearns went 3-5, Grudz contributed a key RBI and Marte twice forced walks.
A's fans must be holding their breath as wunderkind Brett Anderson left the game after 6 brilliant innings with elbow tightness. Tribe batsmen took advantage of the break, hammering Chad Gaudin and Edwar Ramirez in their relief appearances and turning a game that was a 1-1 nailbiter in 7th into a 6-1 victory once Chris Perez had out-dueled his own wildness and the A's in the bottom of the 9th. Perez didn't do the best relief of the day, however. That honor is reserved for Tony Sipp, who forced a key double play in the 8th after Fausto Carmona had gotten dinged for a couple of groundball singles and run out of gas.
Tomorrow, we'll see Masterson v. Gio Gonzalez at 4:05 EST in the rubber match. I, for one, hope to see Marte get a chance to play on back-to-back days and more of Austin Kearns' hot bat.
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