Cleveland right-hander Carlos Carrasco tries to duplicate his brilliant first start on Tuesday when the Indians continue their set with the Chicago White Sox.
Carrasco was arguably the best pitcher in baseball for the better part of the last two months of 2014. He picked up right where he left off on Wednesday against Houston, as he struck out 10 and scattered three hits over 6 1/3 scoreless innings.
"He came out with really explosive stuff," Indians manager Terry Francona said of Carrasco. "He pitched out of a couple innings when he had to. The stuff was so good, and he threw his offspeed off it. And poise. That was really nice to see."
Of course, he had signed a 4-year, $22 million extension with the Tribe the day before his strong outing on the heels of a tremendous finish to last season that saw him pitch to an AL-low 1.30 ERA over his final 10 starts.
With Yan Gomes out 6-to-8 weeks with a knee injury Roberto Perez is now the starting catcher. Perez caught Carrasco seven times last year, and in those seven starts, Carrasco posted a 1.07 ERA.
Carrasco will be trying to help the Indians bounce back from a weekend sweep at the hands of the Detroit Tigers. The Tribe took two of three from Houston to start the year, but ran into a red-hot Tigers team that pushed 25 runs across the plate in the three-game set.
Cleveland watched its bullpen give up four runs in the ninth inning in a loss on Saturday, then starter T.J. House gave up three runs in each of the first two innings on Sunday in an 8-5 loss.
"I thought our energy was really good," said Francona. "That's a tough way to start a game, after last night, we're down quick and nobody stopped playing."
The Indians haven't started 0-4 at home since 1987.
Chicago, meanwhile, has won two in a row after starting the year with four straight losses. On Sunday, Chris Sale had eight strikeouts in his season debut, Adam LaRoche and Gordon Beckham homered and the White Sox beat the Minnesota Twins, 6-2.
Sale (1-0) started the season on the disabled list after breaking a bone in his right foot while unloading his truck during spring training. The Chicago ace gave up one run, five hits and a walk in six innings and threw 72 of his 98 pitches for strikes.
"It can always go better, but I'm definitely satisfied with what (I) had today," said Sale. "It felt good to face some major league hitters and be able to get the win."
Getting the call for the White Sox on Tuesday will be lefty Jose Quintana, who struggled in a no-decision against the Kansas City Royals his first time out. Quintana gave up five runs and nine hits in five innings of his team's 7-5 loss.
Quintana, whose 40 no-decisions overall since 2012 are the most in baseball has faced the Indians 11 times (9 starts) and is 3-0 with a 3.24 ERA. He's also pitched to a 1.52 ERA over 23 2/3 innings at Progressive Field.
Cleveland won 10 of its 19 matchups with the White Sox in 2014, including seven of the last nine. The Tribe had been 17-2 versus Chicago the previous season.