Carrasco aims to stay hot against Astros

( - Sometimes, the player makes the manager look good.

Starting pitcher Carlos Carrasco gets a chance to do that again on Friday night when the Cleveland Indians host the Houston Astros in the opener of a three-game series at Progressive Field.

In two starts since returning to the rotation, Carrasco has put together a 12- inning stretch of scoreless ball while allowing just five hits and walking no one. In his most recent outing on Saturday, he tossed seven innings and allowed three hits in beating Baltimore, 6-0.

He'd been 0-12 in 17 previous starts with an earned run average over 8.00, including three losses this season which prompted a decision by manager Terry Francona to send him to the bullpen.

"I think he's better equipped to pitch, whether it's in the bullpen or starting," Francona said. "I think he feels good about himself. I think being out in the bullpen helped him a lot. I think it let him settle in and get his confidence and kind of understand who he is. And he's taken the same mentality now into the starts. Man, it's a big lift for us."

The Indians have won seven of their last 10 games and are six games behind front-running Kansas City in the American League's Central Division.

"Obviously, we'd like to win every game we can right now with the position we're in," pitcher Corey Kluber said.

Cleveland won the final six games against Houston in 2013.

The Astros are 4-3 heading into the final three games of a 10-game road trip. They managed just four hits in a 3-0 loss to the New York Yankees on Thursday, their lowest total this month.

Brad Peacock takes the ball after allowing six runs in 4 1/3 innings in a 10-7 loss to Boston in his last start on Saturday. He's 0-3 with a 10.80 ERA in his last five outings.

"He was trying to locate his offspeed pitches and missed his spot, and damage was done," manager Bo Porter said. "I think the biggest thing with Peacock moving forward is being able to command all his pitches."

The status of Cleveland catcher Yan Gomes is questionable after he left Thursday's game with a head injury after taking a deflected pitch in his catcher's mask.

"The doctor didn't want to say he had a concussion," Francona said. "But we obviously need to keep an eye on him."