Carlos Carrasco
Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports
Baseball Daily Dose

Daily Dose: Carrasco's Concern

by Matt Stroup
Updated On: April 24, 2019, 1:38 am ET

When it comes to sports, and injuries, and testing for sports injuries, I’ve decided that the word “precautionary” is downright rotten.

It’s a word that implies we shouldn't worry — everything is probably fine — when in fact things may not be fine at all.  

I’m sure that Indians fans agree. After all, it was just over two weeks ago that Mike Clevinger (12 scoreless innings, 22 strikeouts) left a start for precautionary reasons after some tightness in his upper back, and a couple days later it was revealed that he wouldn’t be so much as picking up a baseball for 6-8 weeks. Chalk that up as a clear case of “precautionary” actually being a precursor to “serious problem.”

Now that same bothersome word is hovering around Carlos Carrasco, who departed his start on Tuesday with left knee discomfort after covering first base in the fourth inning, and is headed for a [cough] precautionary MRI. 

Maybe everything will be fine. Maybe in this case it is just a precaution. I don't take any MRI lightly though, no matter what adjective is attached to it. And in the meantime, fantasy owners have to hold their breath and wait to see what happens with Carrasco, a pitcher who has averaged 18 wins and nearly 230 strikeouts the last two seasons. And even though he’s been hit hard early in 2019 (6.00 ERA), the 32-year-old threw four scoreless innings on Tuesday before departing, already has two 12-strikeout games in his first five starts, and carries a 33/5 K/BB ratio in 21 innings — a clear sign of prosperous days ahead. 

Assuming of course, that precautionary actually means what it’s supposed to mean this time.

We should know more on Wednesday.

Crisp Sale

First, let’s get the caveat out of the way: Chris Sale was facing a team (the Tigers) with a collective OPS of .636. (For reference, the AL average heading into Tuesday was .746.) But for a second consecutive start, despite any caveats, we have to call what Sale accomplished a decisive sign of progress: five innings, five hits, two earned runs, two walks and a season-high 10 strikeouts (giving him 16 strikeouts in his last 10 innings, after he recorded eight K’s in his first three starts combined). Sale remains 0-4 with a 7.43 ERA and 1.52 WHIP, but with a 19/3 K/BB ratio across his last three starts, it looks like we could soon be putting all this early-season worry behind us.

In less happy Red Sox rotation news: Nathan Eovaldi had surgery to remove a loose body from his right elbow, and will be sidelined for six weeks. Eovaldi had gotten off to a rough start this season as well (6.00 ERA, 1.52 WHIP), but did throw six scoreless innings his last time out. The 29-year-old should be back in early June.

Wheeler Dealing

Much of the damage took place in one start — seven earned runs and seven walks back on April 7 against the Nationals — but Zack Wheeler still came into Tuesday evening carrying an unsightly and slightly alarming 6.35 ERA and 1.54 WHIP.

We can now breathe much more easily. Wheeler struck out 11 (the second-most of his career, and most since 2013) in seven scoreless innings against the Phillies, giving up five hits and no walks — and launching his first career homer — in an all-around dominant display. The 28-year-old now has a 2.25 ERA in his last three starts since that rough outing against the Nationals, and is looking more and more like a draft-day gamble that’s going to pay off in a big way. 

In other Mets news, Brandon Nimmo was removed due to oblique discomfort, a move that was called — here we go — “more precautionary than anything” by's Anthony DiComo. As of early Wednesday morning, Nimmo was being listed as day-to-day.

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AL Quick Hits: Despite a report to the contrary on Monday evening, Blake Snell (toe) will indeed return on Wednesday against the Royals. … Rougned Odor (knee) is scheduled for a minor league rehab assignment starting on Wednesday, and could return to the Rangers’ roster this weekend. … Clint Frazier was out of the lineup on Tuesday due to a mild ankle sprain, but as of now he is expected to avoid the injured list. … Luke Voit hit his sixth and seventh homers to back a strong start from Domingo German (6 2/3 innings, one unearned run, five strikeouts). ... Elvis Andrus (hand) was back in the starting lineup Tuesday after a precautionary exit on Monday. … Tyler Skaggs (ankle) threw a bullpen on Tuesday and is set to return later this week. … Xander Bogaerts drilled two solo homers on Tuesday, while Michael Chavis hit the first of his career. … Freddy Galvis (hamstring) was out of the starting lineup and is considered day-to-day. … Blue Jays prospect Bo Bichette reportedly broke his hand on Monday, though he is headed for a second opinion. … Justus Sheffield is getting called up on Friday to work as a long reliever. … Jesus Luzardo (shoulder) is reportedly throwing from 75 feet. ... Rowdy Tellez (2 percent rostered in Yahoo leagues) hit a grand slam — his fifth homer of the season — giving him 15 RBI. … Dwight Smith Jr. (29 percent rostered) launched his fifth of the season, while teammate Renato Nunez (22 percent) hit his sixth. Also for the Orioles: Chris Davis homered and is now hitting .360 (9-for-25) over his last nine games. 

NL Quick Hits: Daniel Murphy (finger) remains on track to be activated before the end of the week. … Harrison Bader (hamstring) should be activated on Wednesday. … The Cardinals are planning for Carlos Martinez (shoulder) to return as a reliever once he is back from the injured list. … Kyle Freeland (finger/blister) is set to throw bullpens on Wednesday and Friday in hopes of returning when first eligible on Monday. … Anthony Rendon (elbow) was out of the lineup again on Tuesday, but is expected to avoid the injured list. … Mike Foltynewicz (elbow) is scheduled to rejoin the Braves rotation on Saturday. … Joey Votto (back) returned to the Reds’ lineup and went 1-for-2 with three walks. … Matt Kemp landed on the injured list with a broken rib. … Robinson Cano (hand) was back in the lineup and went 2-for-4. … Eduardo Escobar went 3-for-4 and is now 6-for-9 over his last two games. … Nick Burdi has been diagnosed with a strained biceps tendon and flexor mass, which is good news considering the way things looked on Monday. … Marlins right-hander Pablo Lopez (6 percent rostered in Yahoo leagues) took a no-hitter into the sixth, was charged with one unearned run in 6 1/3 innings, and now has a 29/5 K/BB ratio in 26 1/3 innings this season. … Julio Urias, bumped from the Dodgers’ rotation from the time being, threw a pair of scoreless innings of relief with four strikeouts. … Todd Frazier hit a grand slam in his second game of the season. ... Raimel Tapia has homered in his last three games. ... Franmil Reyes hit his fifth and sixth home runs. ... The resurgent Jose Quintana now has a 0.86 ERA over his last three starts after throwing seven strong innings against the Dodgers. … Gregory Polanco (50 percent rostered) went 2-for-4 for a second consecutive game after being activated on Monday. … Travis Shaw hit two solo homers, giving him three in his last two games.

Matt Stroup

Matt Stroup covers basketball, football and sometimes baseball for NBC Sports Edge — and has covered eight Olympics as a TV writer for NBC. An avid fantasy player and rabid Atlanta sports fan since the 1990s, he would golf, bowl and play pickup basketball 365 days a year if it was acceptable. You can follow him on Twitter @MattStroup