The Indians have lost their last two games in radically different fashion.
On Thursday there was the gut-wrenching loss to the Royals wherein the Tribe led 2-0 in the eighth and went to the ninth ahead 2-1 before falling on a Melky Cabrera hit; and yesterday there was the worst loss of the season — at least in terms of final margin — when the Twins welcomed Justin Morneau back and cruised 10-3, in a game that ended up more one-sided than even the season opener, where Cleveland fell behind 14-0 and ended up losing by five.
There has not been a three-game slide yet this season.
Carlos Carrasco will try to end the Indians’ third two-game slide and give the Tribe a .500 trip when he takes on ex-Indian Carl Pavano at 2:10 in Minnesota in the final game of this seven-game road trip that has been shortened to six.
Since being knocked around for seven runs in his first appearance of the season against Chicago, Carrasco (1-1, 4.85) has allowed no more than three runs in any of his subsequent three starts. In 19 1/3 innings in those three starts, Carrasco has allowed 16 hits and seven runs against the Mariners, the Angels and the Royals, with his lone win coming against Seattle on April 8.
Carrasco got no decision in his last start in the first game of this trip, a game in which the Indians scored four times in the tenth and defeated Kansas City 7-3. In that game on Monday, Carrasco went 6 1/3 innings, surrendering seven hits, allowing three runs, while walking only one and striking out four.
This will be Carrasco’s third career appearance against Minnesota. In two previous starts, Carrasco has an ERA of 2.03, but only an 0-1 record to show for that nice number. In 13 1/3 frames he has given up only three runs to the Twins, but lack of run support has him still seeking his first triumph over the Twins.
No time like the present.
The Twins will send Carl Pavano to the hill today. The former Indian has been up and down so far this season, getting rocked in his first and fourth starts and yet brilliant in the two starts in between.
Pavano (1-2, 5.47 ERA) gave up seven earned runs in his last start, at Baltimore, on Tuesday in an 11-0 Orioles’ win. Before that game Pavano had gone 16 innings against Oakland and Tampa Bay and given up only one run, after giving up seven in only four innings against the Blue Jays on April 1.
Which Pavano will show up today? The Indians hope it will be the one who gives up a ton of runs.
Pavano, who went 9-8 for Cleveland in 2009 before being dealt to Minnesota, has faced Cleveland five times in his career, going 2-2 against the Indians with a nice 2.78 ERA. Against the Tribe, Pavano has worked 35 2/3 innings and has allowed only 11 earned runs.
For his career, Pavano is 98-91 with a 4.36 ERA. Not to wish bad fortune to a former member of the Indians, but maybe the pressure of being on the cusp of 100 wins for his career got to him last time out, since he needs only two wins to achieve that milestone.
We will see.
After the game, the Indians come home and enjoy a day off tomorrow before beginning a six-game homestand against the Royals and the Tigers, as a long stretch of 12 straight games against divisional rivals continues.
The Indians — thanks to Texas beating the Royals in two straight in Arlington thus far — have a one and-a-half game lead over Kansas City, and Detroit has crept to within two-and-a-half.
Let’s get this win today and come home at 14-7, and see if we can savor home-cooking -- as we have the last seven times out at Progressive Field.