OAKLAND -- It looked to Indians manager Terry Francona as though recent trade rumors were beginning to trouble starter Carlos Carrasco. Worried that it could become a distraction, Francona had a brief chat with the pitcher about the reports claiming that teams were calling Cleveland about the big right-hander.
Carrasco's nerves were calmed by their conversation.
"He told me, 'We're not going to trade you,'" Carrasco said after the Indians' 3-1 win over the A's on Thursday night. "That's what he told me. I said, 'OK, that's fine.' I told him, 'You know what? I don't care what I hear about whether they're going to trade me. I'm still here and I'm still working. That's what I need to do.'"
Then, Carrasco went to work on Oakland's lineup.
Carrasco spun a complete-game gem against the A's in the opener of the four-game series, finishing with seven strikeouts, two hits and one walk in a 103-pitch victory. He induced 14 outs via ground balls and, following an RBI double by Josh Reddick in the first inning, the righty held Oakland's bats to an 0-for-26 showing.
"It was just unlucky how good he was tonight," A's starter Chris Bassitt said.
It marked the third consecutive complete game by Cleveland's rotation, which saw Trevor Bauer (Tuesday) and Corey Kluber (Wednesday) go the distance in the previous two games. The Indians had not accomplished that feat since 1994, when Mark Clark, Jack Morris and Charles Nagy delivered three straight complete games. No Major League rotation had done that since the A's had three in a row in 2010.
"I already told him he has to throw one now," Carrasco said.
While the Indians (47-54) reside in last place in the American League Central, and the recent trades that shipped off outfielders Brandon Moss and David Murphy show that Cleveland now has an eye on next year, the Tribe's rotation continues to provide hope. The quartet of Kluber, Carrasco, Bauer and Salazar are relatively young and under control, leading rival teams to understandably inquire about their availability.
In Carrasco's case, he is now 11-8 with a 4.03 ERA, 140 strikeouts and 27 walks in 127 1/3 innings (21 starts) this season. The hard-throwing righty is also under contract for $22 million through the 2018 season, and his deal has a pair of affordable team options that could keep him in the fold through 2020.
Prior to landing David Price, the Blue Jays were rumored to have interest in Carrasco.
Other teams surely called about the pitcher, too.
"It looked like it was bothering him a little bit," Francona said of the rumors. "So I just said, 'Hey, man, teams call, because you're coveted. That's a good thing.' But, we're not dying to let our pitching go away, and they know that."
Carrasco is not expecting any of the rotation arms to be dealt prior to Friday's 4 p.m. ET non-waiver Trade Deadline.
"We're going to be here," Carrasco said. "I think that's most important -- staying here."