June 26, 2016

Partly sunny

Ugly night for offense, Carrasco as Indians get ripped by Royals

CLEVELAND – Right about now, Kosuke Fukudome probably has some strong reservations about waiving his no-trade clause to come to Cleveland and play for the Indians.

The Indians and their fans weren’t real enamored by their newest addition, either.

With Fukudome making his Cleveland debut Friday night at Progressive Field, the Indians were clobbered 12-0 by Central Division rival Kansas City, losing for the seventh time in eight games and for the ninth time in 12.

Fukudome went 0-for-4, striking out in his first at-bat and grounding to second for the final out of the game, but he was far from the cause of the Indians’ latest defeat. That dubious distinction belonged to starting pitcher Carlos Carrasco and a sagging offense that has reached its lowest point of the season.

“We always say pitching sets the tone, and it wasn’t set tonight,” said manager Manny Acta of Carrasco, who allowed seven runs on seven hits over just 31⁄3 innings before being ejected from the game for throwing behind the head of Billy Butler after Melky Cabrera hit a grand slam. “Carlos didn’t have his ‘A’ game tonight. He didn’t bring much at all, and we continue to struggle offensively.

“I’m glad it only counts as one (loss), because we got beat up pretty bad.”

Frustration reached its pinnacle for the Indians in the fourth inning after Carrasco allowed the third of three home runs off him – Cabrera’s grand slam that put the Royals up 7-0.

Cabrera remained at the plate and admired his blast to right field before flipping his bat. The following batter, Butler, paid the price for the display, with Carrasco’s first offering to the designated hitter buzzing past his head. Both benches emptied with Kansas City players and Carrasco shouting at each other from across the field, but nothing escalated. Some Royals waived at Carrasco as he made his way to the home dugout.

“He’s a young guy, immature at times,” Acta said. “He showed his frustration in the wrong way. We don’t condone throwing at people’s heads. That’s a dangerous situation.”

Carrasco, 24, admitted to being angry at himself and at Cabrera for posing, but claimed the inside offering to Butler was not intentional.

“I didn’t try to throw at anyone,” Carrasco said. “My fastball ran away. I know it looks bad after the home run, but I’m not trying to hit anybody.”

Acta did not have a problem with Cabrera’s actions, other than the grand slam.

“He’s got the right to do whatever he wants he wants to do,” Acta said. “He’s been in this league a long time. I think you have to make pitches to get guys out.”

Butler hit the first of Kansas City’s four homers on the night three batters into the game to give the Royals a 2-0 lead. Alex Gordon hit a solo shot off Carrasco in the second.

“I didn’t have anything today,” Carrasco said. “I couldn’t command my fastball and when I tried to throw my breaking pitches, I couldn’t command them either.”

Acta said he and pitching coach Tim Belcher spoke to Carrasco after the game.

“They said I have to calm down and keep pitching,” Carrasco said. “They said don’t let anybody (tick) me off.”

A sparkling outing from Carrasco wouldn’t have done the trick anyway. The Indians, who were no-hit by the Angels’ Ervin Santana on Wednesday, continued to struggle offensively, managing only five hits.

Royals starter Jeff Francis, who entered the night with a 3-11 record and 4.65 ERA, shut them out on four hits, while striking out six over eight innings.

The Indians have scored two or fewer runs in six of their last eight games, three total over the last three.

It’s enough to shake a club’s confidence.

“I wouldn’t say that’s it great,” designated hitter Travis Hafner said. “This can be a pretty brutal game. We’ll find out what we’re made of. We just need to score some runs.”

With a Detroit win Friday, the Indians’ deficit in the Central Division standings grew to 2½ games.

“Our guys in this clubhouse are going to have to be the ones to get out of this,” Acta said. “We’ve been counted out so many times and we bounced back. We’re going to bounce back again.”

Contact Chris Assenheimer at 329-7136 or cassenheimer@chroniclet.com. Fan him on Facebook and follow him on Twitter.


• WHO: Cleveland vs. Kansas City
• TIME: 7:05
• WHERE: Progressive Field
• PITCHERS: Masterson (8-7, 2.57 ERA) vs. Paulino (1-4, 3.86)
• TV/RADIO: Channel 3, SportsTime Ohio; WEOL 930-AM, WTAM 1100-AM