KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) -- Tigers catcher Alex Avila remained sidelined by concussion-like symptoms Friday, and manager Brad Ausmus was uncertain when the veteran backstop will be able to return to the lineup.
Although they've put some life into their slim playoff chances with outstanding pitching, the Cleveland Indians could have a tough time getting their offense on track in Minnesota. The resurgent Indians hope to keep shaving games off their postseason deficits as they go after their fourth straight victory Friday night against 15-game winner Phil Hughes and the Twins. Cleveland (79-73) appeared to be all but done after a four-game losing streak dropped it 7 1/2 games behind Central-leading Detroit and six back of Kansas City for the second wild-card spot. The Indians, however, have since won three in a row behind a pitching staff that has allowed just three runs over 31 innings.
The Cleveland Indians relied on their pitching again, and their offense came alive just in time to beat the Houston Astros. Mike Aviles' sacrifice fly in the 13th inning scored Jose Ramirez and gave the Indians a 2-1 win on Thursday night. Ramirez doubled with one out before Samuel Deduno (2-6) walked Michael Brantley and Carlos Santana to set up Aviles' fly to right. Jake Marisnick's throw to the plate was offline, and Ramirez scored easily.
Cleveland Indians right-hander Carlos Carrasco credits spending "three months" in the bullpen for why he's turned into one of the league's more dominant starting pitchers. That's a long time to hang out somewhere, but it's been worth it. Carrasco is so good right now, he achieved a stat line Wednesday night that only two other pitchers have done in recorded major league history. Carrasco tossed a two-hit shutout in a 2-0 victory against the Houston Astros, striking out 12 and needing only 98 pitches to do it. Maximum dominance and efficiency. The only other pitchers to strike out 12 in fewer than 100 pitches in a complete-game shutout: Sandy Koufax throwing a no-hitter with the Dodgers in 1966 , and Cliff Lee throwing a three-hitter with the Phillies 2011 . All three pitchers coincidentally walked one batter apiece, making for a nice symmetry. The act of tossing a shutout in fewer than 100 pitches is known as a Maddux, as in Greg Maddux, who did it 13 times from 1988 to 2013 and 14 times in his career. Add in the difficulty of a strikeout component, along with the low-hit amount, and what Carrasco did should be called a Maddux-Koufax. (Sorry, Cliff Lee. There must be something else we can name after you. Interestingly, though, Carrasco and Lee were once traded for each other.) Against the Astros, Carrasco allowed just a pair of infield singles to Jose Altuve (of course), along with a walk to Jon Singleton. He retired 17 straight between hits. Via the Associated Press : ''He was so good,'' Cleveland manager Terry Francona said. ''He pounded the strike zone and he had a bunch of at-bats where it was three pitches or less. He's commanding everything, so then they started to try to get a little aggressive and he got some first-pitch outs. He pitched with so much confidence and he just attacked the entire night.'' But let's get back to what created this monster. Carrasco, 27, came into the 2014 season with a 5.29 ERA in 40 career starts. Other than being an underachiever, the only other reason Carrasco was known was for being a headhunter . He began the season as a reliever, but since rejoining the rotation Aug. 10, he's got a 1.17 ERA with 59 strikeouts and seven walks in 54 innings. That's even better than teammate Corey Kluber. Credit Cleveland pitching coach Mickey Callaway for helping to mold Carrasco into a good starting pitcher. From Paul Hoynes at Cleveland.com :
(Adds late games) Sept 17 (The Sports Xchange) - Highlights of Wednesday's Major League Baseball Games - - Cardinals 2, Brewers 0 Adam Wainwright scattered seven hits in a complete-game shutout to push the St. Louis Cardinals closer to the National League Central title with a 2-0 blanking of Milwaukee. Wainwright (19-9) walked two and struck out seven in his third shutout and fifth complete game of the season, tying Clayton Kershaw for the major league lead in wins while improving to 4-0 with a 1.69 ERA in September. ...
The Detroit Tigers expected David Price to bolster their postseason chances when they traded for the 2012 Cy Young Award winner this summer. After winning 11 games with Tampa Bay, though, he has a losing record as a Tigers starter and his latest setback further tightened the AL Central race. The left-hander gave up five runs and eight hits in 5 2-3 innings Wednesday night as the Minnesota Twins beat the Tigers 8-4 ahead of Detroit's big weekend series in Kansas City. Price (14-12) fell to 3-4 since coming to the Tigers in a July 31 trade with the Rays.
A pair of strong pitching performances have helped the Cleveland Indians bounce back from a rough start to their final road trip of the regular season. Danny Salazar now looks to avoid a third straight rough outing while helping the Indians end Scott Feldman's run of home success for the Houston Astros on Thursday night. Cleveland (78-73) snapped a four-game skid Tuesday when Corey Kluber pitched seven strong innings during a 4-2 victory over Houston. One night later, Carlos Carrasco allowed two infield hits to Jose Altuve and struck out a career-high 12 in a 2-0 victory.
Carlos Carrasco extended a string of solid pitching with his best start of the season. The right-hander threw a two-hitter with a career-high 12 strikeouts to lead the Cleveland Indians over the Houston Astros 2-0 Wednesday night. Yan Gomes had an RBI single in the fourth inning and a run-scoring triple in the sixth for the Indians, who remained five games out of a playoff spot with 11 to play. His previous best for strikeouts was 10 on Sept. 2 against Detroit, and his longest outing had been 8 2-3 innings on Sept. 7 against the Chicago White Sox.
There's so little time left to make up ground in saves and steals, but there are options for you nonetheless.
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