Thinking about Wednesdays night’s contest against the Cleveland Indians, the most obvious question seems to be how whipping boy closer turned dominant starter turned inconsistent DL inhabitant Fausto Carmona will fare. Perhaps the question should be, which Carmona will show up in Arlington on Wednesday? Will he resurrect one of his previous acts or debut something new?
And as much as I, and gamblers and prognosticators, would like to know, our curiosity, to be sure, is no match for that of Eric Wedge and the Indians. Carmona is somewhat of a lynch pin for these Indians, and if he goes south, the team will most likely follow.
But then, that could be said for most of Cleveland’s starting rotation. Assuming Cliff Lee can return to form in his next start, that still leaves four sizable question marks in the Cleveland rotation. Carl Pavano, who rode and 18-8 season with the Marlins to a 4-year deal with New York worth just shy of $40 million. It was supposed to get New York over the hump; instead, Pavano spent most of his time on the DL, underwent Tommy John surgery, and stands as a study in frivolous spending.
Anthony Reyes and Scott Lewis are both fairly unproven at the Major League
level, and Reyes comes with a laundry-list of concerns over his chronically injured elbow.
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And then, of course, is the No. 2 man, Carmona. Carmona had an historically awful stint as a closer for the team, before bouncing back as a starter in 2007. He won 19 games that year and finished 3rd in Cy Young voting. But in 2008, Carmona was sidelined with a hip injury in late-May that would keep him out for two months. The 25 year-old never regained his form, and finished with a 8-7 record and a 5.44 ERA.
Alas, alas, we’ve found a team who’s pitching may be more suspect than that of Texas
Regardless of his history, though, and assuming that he is healthy, Carmona still has some nasty stuff in his repertoire, including a filthy sinker that clocks in around the mid-90s, a hard slider and a (kind of dirty) change up. He was 1-1 in two games against the Rangers last year, with a 6.75 ERA.
Presumably, no one loves to pitch to this lineup in the friendly confines of the Rangers Ballpark in Arlington, and Carmona is no different. In any case, Texas will give him ample opportunity to prove that he can still be effective against a dangerous lineup.
Of course, Texas and Cleveland are in the same boat, to a degree. The Rangers will start Vicente Padilla
, the Rangers Pitcher of the Year in 2008. And while he was (kind of) good, the award says more about the Texas rotation than it does about Padilla himself.
If Texas has any hope of anything in 2009, it will be crucial for Padilla to be (at least) as good as he was a year ago.