Originally posted on Fox Sports Ohio  |  Last updated 4/10/13
CLEVELAND -- The only thing that kept the Indians from using their seventh starting pitcher in their first nine games Wednesday night was rain.A deluge and a postponement means the Indians have used six starters in eight games.Since the afternoon of opening day, the Indians have called up Trevor Bauer and sent down Trevor Bauer. Theyve started Carlos Carrasco, then sent down Carlos Carrasco. They had to place their fifth starter, Scott Kazmir, on the disabled list after he inexplicably hurt himself playing catch in the outfield.Wednesday the Indians called up Corey Kluber to start against the Yankees. Hell go to the bullpen on Thursday.I dont think, manager Terry Francona said, its quite as chaotic as maybe it seems.In spring training Francona said he traditionally does not learn much about his pitchers in spring training, but he does when the season starts.What hes learned so far cant be comforting.The Indians have started their season scrambling to put together a group of starters.And the starters they have put together have struggled.Other than that Mrs. Lincoln That being said, it is only eight games into a 162-game season. But eight games in, the numbers arent pretty.Indians starters are 2-5, with a 5.86 ERA.Those numbers come with Justin Masterson 2-0 with a 0.69 ERA.Take away Masterson and the rest of the Indians starters are 0-5 with an 8.10 ERA.There have been capers and madness, with Trevor Bauer walking the first four hitters he faced in his first major league start. Then there was Carrasco, who spent a year-and-a-half recovering from Tommy John surgery. Then he spent the first six games of the season finishing a suspension from 2011 when he threw at Kansas Citys Billy Butler after giving up a home run.What did he do in his first start? He hit Kevin Youkilis high on the shoulder after giving up a Robinson Cano home run.Carrasco apologized after the game and told Francona and the media he slipped as he threw and did not intend to hit Youkilis.I know how it looked, Francona said. And I also know what he told me and I believe him.Francona might be in a small minority who believe him.Replays seemed to show Carrasco going to the ground only when he saw the pitch rising toward Youkilis head. The ball hit his shoulder only because he turned to protect himself. Had the ball kept rising, who knows how the Yankees dugout would have reacted.Carrasco now faces the real possibility of another suspension.The league is pretty good about listening, Francona said.He best hope.Francona does not agree that its kosher to hit a batter if the previous guy hit a home run.I dont buy into that, Francona said. Again, the game has a way of taking care of itself sometimes when it needs to. Thats not what happened, and I fully believe that.Nobody on their team needed to be hit, and nobody got hit intentionally.General consensus, though, was that the pitch to Youkilis was not Carrascos smartest moment.To say the least.A guy returning from Tommy John surgery throwing 95 doesnt need to hurt the team by losing his composure. Carrasco seemed to -- call it a Carrasco fiasco. Less than a day later, he was headed to Class AAA.Carrasco gave up seven runs.Forced to adjust, Francona turned to starter Brett Myers to finish the game. He gave up seven runs. Tuesday Ubaldo Jimenez gave up seven as well.At least theres symmetry.Myers, paid 7 million (more symmetry) to move from the bullpen to the rotation, has given up 14 earned runs and seven home runs in 10 13 innings.The Indians stand by him.If I cant think positive, who is? Francona said.He pointed out that a starter entering a game with the team down 7-0 is facing a bunch of free-swingers, and the Yankees crushed every mistake.You can harp on that as a staff, or you can look to what he did well and try to capitalize on that, Francona said. So thats what we chose to do.The main positive: Myers saved the bullpen for a night.To Francona that is vital. He pointed out he could have used two or three bullpen pitchers and lost 8-1 instead of 14-1, but he preferred saving his bullpen to try to win the next game.Keeping your bullpen in order, he said, is the most important thing you can do as a manager.The starters struggles have revealed a lot about Franconas thinking. He continually looks big picture, he protects his players and his emphasis on protecting the bullpen is unshakeable.Somewhere in there, though, is the desire to see the starting pitching come around.Call it an early-season necessity.
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