Opposing Nats' Strasburg, righty walks three in two-run second
By Shane Jackson
CLEVELAND -- Indians manager Terry Francona chalked it up as excitement in opposing Nationals right-hander Stephen Strasburg. Tribe righty Carlos Carrasco wasn't too quick to pinpoint jitters as the reason, however.
Regardless, Carrasco's early troubles in the second inning proved to be too steep to overcome in Cleveland's 4-1 loss to Washington in Wednesday's Interleague afternoon clash. Strasburg needed little cushion, as he spun seven scoreless frames to split the two-game set at Progressive Field.
"I thought [Carrasco] had really good stuff," Francona said. "I think he was a little excited to pitch against Strasburg, but it's nice to see if you can match up. I thought he had a little extra and it looked like it."
Carrasco had a strong showing himself. The big righty allowed three runs on just three hits in six innings. But it was the early command issues which led to a quick deficit.
"I lost my control in the second inning," Carrasco said. "Not too much happened, it was only two runs and I was able to hold it at two. I thought I lost my control a little bit, I had three walks in the same inning."
Carrasco walked the first two batters to open the second. Then with two on and nobody out, Carrasco got Ryan Zimmerman to roll a chopper to Tribe shortstop Francisco Lindor, who started the double-play attempt. However, second baseman Jason Kipnis fumbled the exchange and Zimmerman reached on a fielder's choice. Carrasco struck out the next batter, but walked Ben Revere on a 12-pitch at-bat to load the bases.
Trea Turner then drove in two runs on a single into left. It was the only hit of the frame, but enough for Washington to take an early 2-0 lead and never look back. Of Carrasco's three hits given up, two came via Turner.
"In the inning where he threw almost 40 pitches," Francona said, "it was a combination of falling behind. We didn't complete the double play. Revere had an unbelievable at-bat. There were a lot of combinations that led to 36 or 37 pitches. Fortunately he gave up two and no more."
Carrasco was able to respond and retired 10 straight before giving up a homer to Daniel Murphy to begin the sixth.
"He had some real quick innings after that, which got him back in sync," Francona said. "So it wasn't a four- or five-inning game."
But on a day where the Tribe offense was stifled by one of the NL's premier starters, an early two-run hole loomed much larger than it appeared on the scoreboard.
"You don't ever want to think that in a game," Francona said. "But [Strasburg's] really good. He has a lot of weapons. He can throw the ball by you. He's got everything. With that delivery, it's impressive."
Shane Jackson is a reporter for MLB.com based in Cleveland. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.