Nothing says 2019 Indians baseball like a 1-0 win.
At least, that’s the way it should be. For a full turn through the rotation, the Tribe’s starting rotation looked to be in shambles, not the least of which was Carlos Carrasco fumbling his way through two of his first three starts.
He was brilliant tonight, however, striking out nine of the first 10 batters he faced and finishing the game with 12 strikeouts to just two walks. Best of all, he did it with a fastball sitting in the 93-94 range, and a changeup that induced seven swinging strikes in 26 throws. That’s the Carlos Carrasco we know and love.
Entering play tonight, the Mariners led all of baseball with 42 home runs and 132 runs scored. ESPN’s David Schoenfield called them the scariest lineup to face in all of baseball. Fast forward three hours, and they were handily dismantled by Carrasco and Great Value Brand Ethan Hawke (aka Nick Wittgren) to the tune of three hits and 14 total strikeouts.
Wittgren may look like just stepped off the set of Boyhood — somewhere around the middle, where Ethan Hawke’s character is a deadbeat dad, but a deadbeat dad who cares — but Terry Francona had enough faith in him to leave him in for two innings against the “scariest lineup in baseball.” He rewarded Tito with a perfect pair of innings and a lot of weak contact.
Old Friend Edwin Encarnacion proved to be the toughest out of the game, and also happened to be the last. Wittgren dug deep and threw his two hardest balls of the night — each 93 miles per hour — to induce a foul ball and mammoth swinging strike to end the game that Edwin just couldn’t catch up to.
Offensively, the Indians should just be glad Carrasco and Wittgren were on their game tonight; and they should be thankful that Jake Bauers exists. Otherwise we’re looking at a very different recap and very sour taste heading back to Cleveland.
Bauers provided a pair of hits, and Carlos Gonzalez dunked in another, but no one else did much of anything besides strikeout. Sure, Jose Ramirez was certainly robbed on a hit to deep right-center field — his 107.2 mile-per-hour liner was the hardest-hit ball of the night and it’ll only go in the scoreboard as a generic out. Tough luck for him, but at this point nothing is going to satisfy the slump monster more than cold, hard results.
Bauers’ home run, his second on the season, gave the Indians the lead and that’s all we really need to care about. That, and Jason Kipnis getting a celebratory piggy back ride from Hanley Ramirez, of course.
Fun Indians are back y’all.