7:30pm: Carrasco is done for the year, manager Terry Francona announced Saturday (Twitter link via Ryan Lewis of the Akron Beacon Journal).
5:49pm: In what could be a serious blow to the Indians’ World Series hopes, the team announced Saturday that right-hander Carlos Carrasco has a nondisplaced fracture of the fifth metacarpal on his pitching hand, Jason Beck of MLB.com was among those to tweet. There’s no timetable for Carrasco’s return, which is particularly troubling with the playoffs approaching.
Carrasco suffered the injury during the Indians’ matchup with the American League Central rival Tigers on Saturday. The 29-year-old started for Cleveland, but Tigers second baseman Ian Kinsler hit a line drive off Carrasco’s hand in the first inning and caused him to exit after only two pitches.
At 85-62, the Indians are theoretically in great shape. Their record trails only the Rangers’ for the AL’s best, and they lead second-place Detroit by seven games in the Central. However, losing Carrasco for an extended period of time could be crippling come October. Carrasco, who’s the Indians’ second-best starter behind Cy Young contender Corey Kluber, threw 146 1/3 innings prior to his injury and registered a 3.32 ERA, 9.23 K/9, 2.09 BB/9 and 48.5 percent ground-ball rate. Health has been an issue, though, as Carrasco missed six weeks earlier in the year with a strained hamstring.
Before Carrasco went down, the Indians were already set to finish the regular season without fellow righty Danny Salazar, who has a forearm strain. Salazar’s return next month would be welcome news for the Indians if it happens, but it’s up in the air how effective he’d be in the wake of both the injury and the 7.44 ERA he posted over 32 2/3 second-half innings. Therefore, not having Carrasco would leave Cleveland with only one front-line option, Kluber. Otherwise, their next best choices include Trevor Bauer, Josh Tomlin and Mike Clevinger. No one from that trio has managed a sub-4.00 ERA this year, though Bauer has provided 170 2/3 respectable frames.