Indians powerful in Carrasco's rotation bid
Homers by Chisenhall, Raburn, Kipnis back aspiring starter
GOODYEAR, Ariz. -- The Indians launched three home runs, and Carlos Carrasco turned in a decent outing, leading Cleveland to an 8-3 victory over the Reds on Monday afternoon at Goodyear Ballpark.
The performance by Carrasco gave Cleveland a little more to think about as it weighed whether to hand the right-hander the only job left in the rotation. With one week until the season opener, the Indians are down to Carrasco and Josh Tomlin for the final spot.
"I'm just doing my job; they've seen everything," said Carrasco, who is out of Minor League options. "The only thing I care about is my job, just doing that. Right now, my mind is on the starting rotation. If they make another decision to send me to the bullpen, I'll do my job. But right now, it's rotation."
In six innings Monday, Carrasco limited Cincinnati to three runs on nine hits, ending the afternoon with five strikeouts and no walks. It was a considerable improvement over Wednesday, when the right-hander allowed eight runs (five earned) in only 2 2/3 innings of a loss to the A's.
"I thought he got pretty deep into the game," Indians manager Terry Francona said. "He got deeper into the game before he got a little fatigued. I keep thinking we've seen that with just about everybody. That's why the length of Spring Training is what it is. You might see that at the beginning of the year with pitchers."
Helping Carrasco's cause were home runs by Lonnie Chisenhall, Ryan Raburn and Jason Kipnis.
After being told in the morning that he would be on the Opening Day roster, Chisenhall responded with a solo home run off Reds starter Alfredo Simon in the second inning. In the third, Raburn pushed the Indians to a 3-0 lead by drilling a two-run shot to left field.
Simon was charged with four runs (three earned) on six hits in five innings, during which he struck out three and walked one. In the fifth inning, an error by left fielder Ryan Ludwick allowed Kipnis to reach third base, setting the stage for a sacrifice fly from Raburn.
Kipnis added a three-run homer to right field off Reds reliever J.J. Hoover in the sixth inning.
The Reds first broke through against Carrasco in the fourth inning, when Joey Votto singled and later crossed the plate on a base hit from Ludwick. Cincinnati came through with two more runs against the right-hander in the sixth -- thanks to RBI doubles from Jay Bruce and Zack Cozart -- to trim the Tribe's advantage to 7-3. Cleveland added its last run in the ninth.
"I feel good," Carrasco said. "The last inning, they got two runs. I missed a couple spots right there, but I finished strong. More important, I feel good."
Up next: The right-handed Tomlin, who is up against Carrasco for the final spot in the Indians' rotation, is scheduled to start on Tuesday when the Tribe hosts the Rangers in a 4:05 p.m. ET Cactus League tilt at Goodyear Ballpark. Between Cactus League and Minor League games, Tomlin has a 2.70 ERA with 18 strikeouts and two walks in 20 innings. The game will be available in an exclusive webcast on Indians.com.