The starting rotation keeps growing into a bigger and bigger mess. There's Corey Kluber, who's been the second or third best pitcher in the American League this season, and then there's everyone else.
Trevor Bauer is now the team's #2 starter, and to be fair, he's been decent over the last month, averaging a little over 6 innings a start, with a 3.86 ERA and a 3.25 FIP. He's allowed only two home runs during that time, which is nice.
Danny Salazar has been back up for three starts now; the first two went pretty well, and then last night was a mess, with two home runs allowed (though he didn't walk anyone). He's been sent back down to Columbus, and while that's liely just for ten days, before the Tribe needs a fifth pitcher again, it's still somewhat telling that him being the one to get skipped was such an easy call for the team.
T.J. House was probably 9th on the depth chart coming out of spring training, but is now probably third, which is sort of terrifying to me. House has done better than expected, with a 4.09 ERA, but his peripherals say he's probably been a bit worse than that.
Zach McAllister started the season off really well, but shortly after making a start on short rest, his performance dipped, and he has not recovered. His ERA over the last month is 5.95, and he's back in Columbus right now.Josh Tomlin is only six weeks removed from tossing the best game by a Tribe pitcher in over a decade, but even including that game, he's been a mess for quite a while. Despite the highest strikeout rate of his career, over the last two months Tomlin has 6.04 ERA, mostly because he gives up approximately 37 home runs every time out*. He's been moved to the bullpen for the time being.
*That figure may be an exaggeration, but I don't have time to double check.
Like I said, the rotation is a mess. Someone is going to have to start Sunday afternoon's game in the Bronx, and (unless Francona does a very quick about face on Tomlin's role) it's not going to be any of the guys mentioned above. Tyler Cloyd pitched a no-hit Maddux last week for Columbus, but his numbers on the season aren't very good, and he hasn't done well in his (limited) MLB experience before.
I can't believe I'm saying this, but the guy who deserves the chance to make that start on Sunday is Carlos Carrasco.
The reason I have such a hard time saying that is I was among the first to sour on Carrasco during his previous couple stints in the rotation. After missing 2012 while recovering from Tommy John surgery, Carrasco had an ERA of 9.00 in seven starts for the Indians last season, while allowing more than two base runners per inning. He was given another chance at the start of this season, which lasted only four starts, because he was hit hard again, if not quite as hard as the year before. Again, he was moved to the bullpen, and again, he's done well there.
Until this week, his success as a reliever has made me want to keep him in the bullpen. I still tend to think that's what he's best suited for, given that in his first time facing a hitter as a starter, his OPS allowed is .693 (very solid) and as a reliever it's .474 (excellent), whereas once's he's facing a guy for the second or third time in a game, hitters have posted an OPS above .900 against him (very bad).
Desperate times call for desperate measures though, and the Indians desperately need to find some starting pitching. I think Carrasco should (and will) get the chance to start on Sunday. I'd stick him there for the rest of the season. If he's finally figured it out, then the Indians have one fewer hole to fill there for 2015 (I'd still suggest they go out an sign someone they think can be a #2 or 3 guy). If it doesn't work out, then we'll never speak of Carrasco as a possible starter again.