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Game Notes: Colome vs Carrasco

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Rays look to get back on track after losing seven of last ten

Leon Halip/Getty Images

For the second time in the past two weeks, Carlos Carrasco will be taking the mound against the Tampa Bay Rays. In his prior appearance on June 19 at Progressive Field in Cleveland, Carrasco tossed 6 ⅔ innings, allowing three earned runs on ten hits. Joey Butler and Asdrubal Cabrera both homered off of Carrasco, as the Rays would win the game by a score of 4-1 behind a strong outing by Nathan Karns.

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After posting a career best 2.55 ERA and 2.44 FIP in 2014 as both a starter and reliever, the Cleveland Indians signed Carrasco to a four year, $22 million contract extension with the intention of converting the right-handed pitcher into a full-time starter. Although Carrasco's 4.16 ERA in his first 15 starts of 2015 is quite pedestrian, the Venezuelan native has posted a 2.93 FIP in almost 90 innings of work this season. His walk rate of 1.93 per nine innings is almost identical to last season and his strikeout rate of 9.85 per nine innings is slightly higher.

The reason for Carrasco's ERA influx appears to be a two-fold predicament. So far this season, Carrasco has seen a dramatic increase in batting average on balls in play, as his opponents are hitting .336 on balls placed in fair territory. This is a 62 point increase compared to last season, and well above the league average of .290.

While Carrasco might be the victim of players "hitting them where they a'int," there is no getting around the fact that his opposition has simply been hitting him harder. According to Fangraphs, 32.8% of balls put in play are considered hard hit. This is an 8.2% increase from last year and his highest rate since his rookie season in 2009.

Carrasco has also induced five percent less ground balls this season and has surrendered five percent more fly balls. Furthermore, a higher percentage of the fly balls surrendered have left the ballpark as he has seen his HR/9 increase from an impressive 0.47 to a respectable 0.91.

In tonight's game, Carrasco gets a second chance against the Rays at Tropicana Field. The Rays, losers of three straight and seven of their last ten, will give the ball to Alex Colome. Despite the Rays' recent struggles, they still hold a share of the American League East lead with the Baltimore Orioles.

First pitch is at 7:10.

Carlos Carrasco's Arsenal in 2015

PITCH VELOCITY FREQUENCY vs RHH vs LHH
Fourseam 96 mph

42.72% vs RHH

/

45.62% vs LHH

Sporadic; though he does throw up and in a lot. Outer third of the plate, especially out of the zone away.
Sinker 95 mph

12.12% vs RHH

/

10.58% vs LHH

Low and inside. Outer third of the plate, especially out of the zone away.
Change 89 mph

7.47% vs RHH

/

26.82% vs LHH

Below the knees. Below the knees.
Slider 89 mph

30.11% vs RHH

/

13.14% vs LHH

At the knees, especially outside. Low and inside, or up and away.
Curve 83 mph

7.47% vs RHH

/

3.83% vs LHH

Sporadic.

Sporadic.

<!-- BEGIN WIDGET --><div class="pane sports_data_widget lineup clearfix"><h3>Today's Lineups</h3><div class="lineup"><table cellspacing="0" class="zebra"><thead><tr><th align="left">CLEVELAND INDIANS</th><th align="left">TAMPA BAY RAYS</th></tr></thead><tbody><tr><td class="td-last td-name">Jason Kipnis - 2B</td><td class="td-first td-name">Kevin Kiermaier - CF</td></tr><tr><td class="td-last td-name">Francisco Lindor - SS</td><td class="td-first td-name">Joey Butler - DH</td></tr><tr><td class="td-last td-name">Michael Brantley - LF</td><td class="td-first td-name">Evan Longoria - 3B</td></tr><tr><td class="td-last td-name">David Murphy - DH</td><td class="td-first td-name">David DeJesus - LF</td></tr><tr><td class="td-last td-name">Carlos Santana - 1B</td><td class="td-first td-name">Logan Forsythe - 2B</td></tr><tr><td class="td-last td-name">Brandon Moss - RF</td><td class="td-first td-name">Steven Souza - RF</td></tr><tr><td class="td-last td-name">Giovanny Urshela - 3B</td><td class="td-first td-name">Asdrubal Cabrera - SS</td></tr><tr><td class="td-last td-name">Michael Bourn - CF</td><td class="td-first td-name">Marc Krauss - 1B</td></tr><tr><td class="td-last td-name">Roberto Perez - C</td><td class="td-first td-name">Curt Casali - C</td></tr><tr><td class="td-last td-name"></td><td class="td-first td-name"></td></tr><tr><td class="td-last td-name">Carlos Carrasco - RHP</td><td class="td-first td-name">Alex Colome - RHP</td></tr></tbody></table></div></div><!-- END WIDGET -->

Other Notes:

--A relevant story from ESPN regarding the decline of baseball academies in Venezuela. Tonight's starting pitcher, Carlos Carrasco, was born in Venezuela and signed with the Philadelphia Phillies in 2003.

--A video from the Tampa Bay Times on the signing day of the Rays' first round pick:

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