If Carrasco should push the host Chicago White Sox's buttons again during his Tuesday afternoon start, he figures to acknowledge that tactic as the end credits roll.
"My first three games of the season, it was a little bit slow," Carrasco said. "I just started to do my delivery a little bit more quick, more fast. That's the difference."
Pitching at Cleveland's Progressive Field last Thursday, Carrasco (3-3, 4.91 ERA) limited the White Sox to two hits while going the distance in a rain-shortened, five-inning, 5-0 victory. Carrasco struck out six, and he has fanned 56 batters in 40 1/3 innings over eight starts this season.
He traces the breakthrough to an April 17 start in Seattle. After yielding six earned runs twice in his first three starts, Carrasco held the Mariners to three hits over seven shutout innings while matching his season high with 12 strikeouts.
"I got surprised because I couldn't do that from the beginning of the season," Carrasco said, "but I didn't think about it the first three games. After that, I just started working really hard. Right now, my pitches look great. ... Slider and changeup, too."
Whatever his tempo, Carrasco boasts respectable career numbers at the White Sox's Guaranteed Rate Field, where he is 6-5 with a 3.79 ERA in 13 games, including 11 starts.
The White Sox will be looking for their fourth straight victory after winning the series opener 5-2 on Monday. The Chicago offense smacked four solo home runs while the pitching trio of Reynaldo Lopez, Aaron Bummer and Alex Colome threw a combined two-hitter.
Left-hander Manny Banuelos (2-2, 6.67 ERA) is set to start for the White Sox in his second straight outing against the Indians. Opposing Carrasco on Thursday, Banuelos allowed five runs and eight hits in 4 1/3 innings with five walks and five strikeouts.
Banuelos admitted to his struggles after the game, calling the start "a battle." After compiling a 2.70 ERA in his first six appearances of the season, including two starts, he has been unable to provide stability to an inconsistent rotation.
"I gave up a base hit in the first inning, and then after that, I got in trouble every single inning," Banuelos said. "Too many walks. I have to figure it out. I have to work. I'm still walking too many people."
White Sox manager Rick Renteria reiterated the team's confidence in Banuelos going forward.
"He's going to get opportunities to pitch, and if the command and strike-to-ball ratio improve -- which is necessary for a starting pitcher, and right now he's 2-to-1, and we like 3-to-1 -- (he can succeed)," Renteria said. "He has enough stuff, off-speed, nice-enough fastball. If he commands it, he has a chance to still be effective."
The White Sox had lost six of eight before their current three-game roll. The Indians have lost six of their past nine games, and haven't scored more than five runs in a game this month.
--Field Level Media