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Longoria Thumb Injury, Carrasco Dominates Again

Wayne Masut | Senior Staff Photographer

Longoria thumb injury could be the team’s biggest concern.

To say that Indians’ pitcher Carlos Carrasco enjoys playing in the Sunshine State might be an understatement. And before you waste your time looking – he’s never pitched at Marlins Park.

His performance on Friday night was probably his best this season. He allowed a season-low two hits and stuck out 10 batters en route to an Indians victory.

Unlike Carrasco, Rays’ starter Jacob Faria had never faced his night’s opponent.

Carrasco Continues to Dominate at Tropicana Field

After another dominating performance at Tropicana Field, he managed to lower the 1.48 ERA he had entering the game. With a no-hitter intact, entering the sixth inning, it was not lost on him that he had been in this position before.

Against this team – in this ballpark. The 30-year-old from Venezuela has made four starts in St. Petersburg and he has been victorious in all of them. Perhaps it is the family ties here in Florida that provide the extra motivation. He spoke about that, and his previous successes after the game.

On July 2, 2015 Carrasco was one out away from a no-hitter when Joey Butler, trailing by eight runs, lined a single to right-center that was just over the glove of Jason Kipnis at second base.

Call this pitching dominance or extended offensive struggles, Carrasco now boasts a 4-0 record in Tampa Bay. He has allowed only four earned runs over 32.1 innings pitched, striking out 35, and walking six.

Longoria Thumb Injury Forces Early Exit

A collective gasp could be heard at Tropicana Field when Evan Longoria took a hot-shot liner off his wrist in the fifth inning. Fellow third baseman Giovanny Urshela drilled a one-hopper that came up quick on Longoria, deflecting off his wrist and into left field.

The Rays third baseman finished the inning but did not return. The official word is a left-thumb contusion. X-rays came back negative and his status for tomorrow’s game is unknown.

The Longoria thumb injury is something to monitor closely. He spoke of the injury after the game.

Indians Face Faria for First Time

In baseball, when a pitcher is facing a team for the first time the advantage works in his favor more often than not. Friday night marked the 12 start for Faria this season, but his first against the Cleveland Indians.

The Indians struggled to figure out Faria throughout the first four innings.

Needing just 49 pitches to retire the first 12 batters he faced, the rookie right-hander mixed in his change-up during fastball counts and puzzled the Cleveland lineup.

Trouble in the Fifth

Edwin Encarnacion led off with a solo home run to centerfield. Making his first start in an Indians uniform, Jay Bruce‘s single was followed by a Carlos Santana walk, bringing pitching coach Jim Hickey out for a conversation. Indians catcher Yan Gomes then reached on an odd bunt that dropped between Logan Morrison and Wilson Ramos.

Even the first out recorded by Tampa Bay resulted in a run for Cleveland. Bradley Zimmer‘s sacrifice fly drove in Bruce to make the score 2-0, Indians. Giovanny Urshela singled making it 3-0 before, once again, a productive out for the Tribe. Austin Jackson grounded into a fielder’s choice making it a four-run inning.

Jose Ramirez continued the offensive onslaught by joining the MLB-leaders with his 35th double of the season. The five-run inning was more than enough for them this evening.

Faria got through the sixth unscathed but his night was done after 98 pitches. Having used six different bullpen arms in the last two nights, manager Kevin Cash was hoping to get as much from his starter as possible.

“For him to go back out there and get that extra inning, it meant a lot,” Cash responding to questions about Faria going back out after struggling in the fifth.

Saddled with his third loss of the season, the 24-year-old commented on what happened in the fifth and how the Indians were able to get to him.

“Falling behind to hitters and not being able to put them away when they get two strikes,” he went on to  address possible mechanical issues, “I probably should have thrown more pitches out of the stretch in warmups.”

Due Up:

The weekend provides us with the opportunity to see the ace of each team. Unfortunately, we won’t get to see them face each other. Of the Longoria thumb injury, Cash said he will wait-and-see how his third baseman is feeling in the morning before making a decision on his availability.

Saturday: RHP Chris Archer (8-6; 3.80) vs RHP Mike Clevinger (5-4; 4.00)

Sunday: RHP Austin Pruitt (6-3; 5.14) vs RHP Corey Kluber (10-3; 2.65)

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