Thursday, August 18, 2011
Fausto Carmona grounds up the opposition
Cleveland Indians starter Fausto Carmona allowed 10 runs to the Chicago White Sox on Opening Day, then gave up eight runs against them on May 19.
His start on Wednesday was far removed from both of those efforts.
Carmona used his sinker to net ground ball after ground ball in the most effective manner possible, coming within two outs of his first complete game of the season in a win that pulled the Indians to within a game of the Detroit Tigers for first place.
Over the last three seasons, Carmona had not had a start in which he induced more than 13 ground balls that were turned into outs. Wednesday, he turned 15 of the 16 grounders he coaxed into White Sox outs.
White Sox right-handed hitters were 12-for-22 against Carmona in his first two starts against them this season. On Wednesday, they were 1-for-17 with all six of his strikeouts. The only ball to leave the infield was Alexei Ramirez’s home run.
One difference for Carmona was in the location of his sinker. He threw nearly half of his sinkers to right-handers on the inner-third of the plate in those first two meetings. On Wednesday, he threw only 10 of his 53 sinkers to righties on the inner-third, choosing to work on the outer-third instead.
Carmona also got three strikeouts with his changeup, giving him seven whiffs with that pitch in his last two starts. He only had six strikeouts with his changeup in his 16 starts prior to that. Carmona threw 20 of 25 changeups for strikes in Wednesday's win.
Carmona’s counterpart, Mark Buehrle, had a rare bad night, with his streak of 18 straight starts of three runs or fewer allowed snapped. Buehrle hadn't allowed more than three runs in a start since April 22.
Elsewhere around the majors
The Elias Sports Bureau reports that the Milwaukee Brewers, with their 3-1 win over the Los Angeles Dodgers, became the sixth team since 1900 to win five straight games, scoring three runs or fewer in each one. The last team to do that—the 1972 California Angels (six straight).
Kansas City Kings
The Kansas City Royals edged the New York Yankees, 5-4, despite Curtis Granderson hitting his major-league leading 12th home run against a left-handed pitcher. Royals closer Joakim Soria survived a dicey ninth inning. A check of Baseball-Reference.com showed him to be the first pitcher to earn a save of an inning or less, throwing 40 pitches since Ryan Dempster in 2005.
Cliff Lee used an effective changeup to beat the Arizona Diamondbacks. Our pitch-performance data showed Lee registering five outs with the changeup, despite throwing it only 13 times.
Diamondbacks hitters missed on six of their eight swings against Lee's changeup, matching the most misses Lee has gotten with his changeup in a start in the last two seasons.
Ricky not so fine
Ricky Nolasco set a Florida Marlins record for most runs allowed, giving up 11 in his start on Wednesday night. He broke a mark of 10 previously set six times, including the last such occurrence, by Nolasco in 2009.
Nolasco’s teammate, Mike Stanton, tried to make up for it with a 466-foot home run. It was his fourth home run of at least 450 feet, matching Justin Upton for the most such home runs in the majors.