If Carmona's throwing strikes, watch Tribe

Is Fausto Carmona back? As Devin Ruffner writes, the early returns are encouraging ...

He’s meaner – he’s pounding the strike zone.

He’s leaner – no more spare tire.

Good God, I’m a believer.


In 13 Spring Innings, Carmona has given up 5 hits and only 2 walks, versus 6 strikeouts. He has a 0.69 ERA and just went six scoreless innings on Monday without reaching his pitch count for the day. That certainly doesn’t sound like Carmona 08-09.

Call me crazy (yes, I know it’s only Spring Training), but I smell a comeback.

Okay, okay. I’ll slow down. No, I don’t expect 19 wins and a 3.00 ERA — at least not until I see a month or two of in-season performance. But coming into camp, we were told to watch his BB/9 and K/BB ratios to serve as an indicator of his progress in harnessing his control, and if 2 walks over 13 innings is any indicator, I’m loving what I’m seeing. Add that to the fact he averaged just over 11 pitches/inning in his last start, and we may have the top of the rotation starter we envisioned taking over for Carsten Charles when we signed him to his extension back in 08.

Again, I realize I may be a bit premature here, but if I’m right, we could be in for a very interesting season, Tribe fans. The club’s playing with a ton of intensity this spring, sporting the second best record in the league and the lowest team ERA in the AL. The fresh outlook of a revamped coaching staff seems to have done these kids some good, and with a healthy Grady and Travis sparking the lineup, one guy stepping up and taking the reigns in the pitching staff could make all the difference.

Keep an eye on Carmona’s next couple of starts this Spring. This season may not be a wash after all.

Agreed. The Indians aren't going to win 90 games. A lot of things will have to go right for them to win 85 games. But at least it's not so hard to imagine those things. Carmona's been a Cy Young candidate before. Travis Hafner's been a great hitter before. Grady Sizemore's been a great player before. Shin-Soo Choo's an outstanding player right now.

I can't recommend the Indians. But keep an eye on Carmona's relationship with the strike zone these next few weeks. And if it's a happy relationship, keep an eye on the Indians.