Struggling Fausto Carmona Leaves Indians with Few Options to Work With

jim beamContributor IIIJune 21, 2011

CLEVELAND, OH - JUNE 20:  Pitching Coach Tim Belcher #49 of the Cleveland Indians talks with pitcher Fausto Carmona #55 of the Cleveland Indians with catcher Lou Marson #6 of the Cleveland Indians during a game against the Colorado Rockies at Progressive Field on June 20, 2011 in Cleveland, Ohio. Colorado defeated Cleveland 8-7.   (Photo by Jamie Sabau/Getty Images)
Jamie Sabau/Getty Images

Fausto Carmona has been bad for the Cleveland Indians in 2011, and things are getting worse for him.

In yet another poor outing, Carmona surrendered seven runs to the Colorado Rockies during the Indians' 8-7 loss on Monday. The low point of his night (and perhaps his season) came in the fifth inning, when he gave up six earned runs after retiring the first two batters of the inning.

He allowed five hits during the fifth, including two doubles and a three-run homer by Jason Giambi. He also walked Todd Helton with the bases loaded.

Carmona has given up four runs or more in each of his last eight starts, going 1-6 with an 8.87 ERA during that stretch. Beyond those games, his struggles have lasted the entire season. His 6.17 ERA is the highest of any regular starter in the American League.

He's allowed more than 40 percent of his baserunners to score, also worst in the AL. Known as a groundball pitcher throughout his career, Carmona has given up 15 home runs in 96 1/3 innings, the highest rate of any pitcher in the AL.

An All-Star in 2010 and the Indians' opening day starter this year, Carmona's struggles have put the team in a position where they might have to move him into a long relief role or consider trading him.

Unfortunately, the team may be stuck with him for the time being. He can't be sent to the minors because he's out of minor league options, and the Indians could have a hard time finding a team that's willing to trade for him.

Rookie standout Alex White is at least another month away from coming off the disabled list and possibly replacing Carmona in the starting rotation. The only realistic option the Indians currently have may be to bring either Jeanmar Gomez or Zach McAllister from Triple-A Columbus.

Gomez pitched four games for the Indians before getting sent back to Columbus, going 0-1 with a 4.91 ERA in Cleveland. The 24-year-old McAllister is 7-2 with a 2.96 ERA as a starter for the Clippers.

The Indians' options are limited, and calling up Gomez or McAllister isn't very appealing. However, they cannot afford many more bad showings by Carmona as they cling to their one-game lead in the Central Division.

Sadly, the uncertainty with placing a minor-leaguer in the starting rotation is still more comforting than another outing by Carmona.