You know, it’s funny because I’ve always been the first to defend Indians pitcher, Carlos Carrasco. When everyone said he would never be a great pitcher in the major leagues, I cited his nasty stuff that he simply just needed to harness. As a starting pitcher, the man hasn’t won a game since June 29th, 2011. I was a baby then. Yet I still believed that Carrasco would finally find his stuff at some point in the near feature. That he would reach the plethora of greatness at the major league level, proving all the critics wrong.

For the first time since May 26th, Carrasco made an appearance. This time in the top of the 11th inning with the game tied at four. Already nervous that Boston was going to bust the game open, simply because of the fact that Carrasco was pitching, I watched as the struggling Venezuelan’s 1-0 fastball to Johnny Gomes veered way instead and nailed him right around the waist area.

And that’s when I snapped, tweeting:

“Carrasco comes in and hits the first batter he faces. I’m tired of backing up this bum. Find someone else.” – @CLEsportsTalk 

A fielders choice and two powerful strikeouts later, and we were heading to the bottom of the 11th. Carrasco, as if he had simply read my tweet and wanted to prove me wrong, finally found that edge. He fastball was electric, hitting at around 94 mph and causing many swings and misses. Additionally, he was able to locate his off speed pitches too. No hanging breaking ball, every pitch dead on the corners.

But the show wasn’t over. After the Indians went relatively quickly, he was back out on the mound for the 12th.

First, he struck out Brock Holt on three pitches. Next, he got the young but ever-so-talented Xander Bogaerts to pop out to short. To finish off this symphony, the right hander struck out star second baseman, Dustin Pedroia.

Without Carrasco, the festivities of the bottom of the 12 inning never would have occurred. No walk-off, no celebration, and a stinging loss. Amazingly enough, it’s the guy that no one had any faith in the really stepped up when he was needed most.

So what’s next for Carrasco?

Truthfully, the Indians use relievers Brian Shaw and Cody Allen way too much. It’d be nice to have a guy like Carrasco, although he’s more of a middle reliever, to be a strong option for Terry Francona to call on to ease the workload of our workhorses.

Obviously, he simply needs to pitch with that edge. Hopefully, Francona will give him some work to prove himself more after this stellar performance.

Admittedly, I did jump off the Carrasco bandwagon, but after that performance I’m right back on it.

The walk-off victory to complete the sweep of the World Champion Boston Red Sox was amazing, but let’s not forget how it got to that point. What a job by Carlos Carrasco.

These Cleveland boys are playing their best baseball of the entire season! Roll Tribe!

-Zach Shafron

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