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Fausto Wins, But Doesn't Impress

July 2, 2009
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Fausto Carmona took the mound in a "rehab" start on Tuesday night in Bowie for the Indians Double-A Akron affiliate. Carmona's final line in the rain-shortened complete game was 7 IP, 4 H, 1 ER, 0 BB and 5 K's on just 80 pitches. Out of those 80 pitches, 59 were strikes and two of the five strikeouts were looking. Carmona worked up in the zone to contact, and the result was a good but not amazing 10:6 GB/FB ratio. He sat between 87-92 MPH most of the night with his fastball/sinker.

I had a chance to talk to the Bowie Baysox coaching staff before last night's game to get their thoughts on Carmona. By way of background, Baysox manager Brad Komminsk managed the Aeros when Carmona was pitching in Akron, so he has a history with Fausto and has seen him at/near his best.

When I asked Komminsk what he thought about Fausto's start, the first thing he said was, "that is just not the same Fausto." He said that Fausto used to be a power pitcher, aggressively attacking hitters with his fastball to set up his devastating sinker as his out pitch. He thinks that Carmona is a good 8 MPH slower on average with his pitches, and is trying to be a finesse guy. He mentioned a couple of times that all Carmona really did was do a good job getting a poor-hitting AA team out for 7 innings (Bowie's roster doesn't have much in the way of position player prospects now that Brandon Snyder has been called up to AAA). I asked him and hitting coach Moe Hill if they told their hitters to make any adjustments for Fausto (lay off the sinker, make him throw strikes etc), and they both said no.

Komminsk, Hill and pitching coach Larry McCall all said that his sinker was nothing special Tuesday night. McCall did say that Carmona's slider was better Tuesday night than he remembered, but he couldn't understand why Carmona has gotten away from throwing his changeup, which McCall thought could be an out pitch for him. McCall and Hill agreed with Komminsk that Carmona had gotten away from his power-pitching mentality; McCall even went as far as to say that Carmona looked like a "right-handed Jeremy Sowers out there." Ouch. Komminsk and Hill both said that the strike zone was "huge" in the game for Carmona, and Komminsk said he thought that Carlos Santana framed the ball well enough behind the plate to get Carmona a number of borderline pitches that shouldn't have been called strikes.

Komminsk seemed almost frustrated with Carmona's outing. He said that Carmona was one of the best pitchers he has coached, and can't understand why he has gotten away from the power pitching mentality that made him so successful. McCall closed our conversation by telling me that he thought Carmona was better when he saw him pitch for the K-Tribe several years ago in Kinston than he was last night.

On a lighter note, Komminsk talked a little bit about some of the Aeros alumni currently with the Indians. He said that Victor was one of his favorite players ever, and saw his success at the major league level coming a mile away. He said that Sizemore will "play through anything," which is why he must have really been hurting to go on the DL this year. I was going to ask him for his thoughts on Jhonny Peralta but he beat me to it, bringing him up with a smile and saying he enjoyed coaching him. Komminsk thinks that if Sizemore comes back healthy next year, the Indians are contenders.

Special thanks to the Baysox PR staff for setting up the interview (check out Andrew's favorite teams for some insight as to why he was so happy to help), and many thanks to the Baysox coaching staff for taking the time before the game to talk.

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