CLEVELAND -- Cleveland Indians starter Carlos Carrasco had some inconsistency issues throughout the month of June, but over his last two starts before the All-Star Game break, he was the top-of-the-rotation pitcher the team needed him to be.
In his final start of the first half, Carrasco struck out 11 hitters, walked only one and found a way to work around nine hits, which helped the Indians pull out an 11-2 victory over the Detroit Tigers, one of their American League Central Division foes, in front of the home fans at Progressive Field.
“I think it was everything like a 95 percent mentality, and the rest is my body and my pitches,” Carrasco said. “Everything was great. It’s something that I learned to do, but now, it’s just getting the same way that I did in the first half, I just want to do it in the second half, continue to do that.
“I think I didn’t use my changeup too much, but my slider was great, and my curveball too. To have that, my slider’s even better now, so I just look at them with the fastball, go with the fastball, and the slider’s been great the last two games.”
Consistency key to Carlos Carrasco's success with the Cleveland Indians
Carrasco made a little bit of history in his final start of the first half.
After the Indians failed to score in the bottom of the fourth inning despite having the bases loaded and nobody out, Carrasco calmly trotted out to the mound and struck out all three Tigers hitters on just nine pitches.
“The Immaculate Inning” was the 86th in the history of Major League Baseball and just the second ever by an Indians pitcher. The other came from former Cleveland ace Justin Masterson during the 2014 regular season.
“You know what? That was really good,” Carrasco said. “Every time when I got a run, the next inning, I just tried to put a 0 on the board. That’s my main job, and to do that with the nine pitches and three strikeouts, that was great.
“That was really impressive, so it definitely feels good.”
Despite having a 10-3 record in the first half of the season, including a 3-1 mark in four starts against the Tigers, Carrasco was not selected as an All-Star. However, that means little to the 30-year old native of Barquisimeto, Venezuela.
While watching five of his teammates, pitchers Andrew Miller and Corey Kluber, third baseman Jose Ramirez, shortstop Francisco Lindor and outfielder Michael Brantley, participate in the 2017 MLB All-Star Game, Carrasco put his focus on what needs to be done in the second half to pull away in the Central Division and return to the postseason after pushing the Chicago Cubs to Game 7 of the 2016 World Series.
“I’m just happy because five of my teammates made it, and I’m really happy for them,” Carrasco said. “It is what it is. It doesn’t matter, but I’m just trying to get ready for the second half. That’s more important.”