He must look like Lee Smith to Cleveland now. The trade of Wickman to the Braves July 20 opened the door for 22-year-old right-handed rookie Fausto Carmona to assume the role of Tribe closer. But a report on the Cleveland Plain Dealer Web site Monday said that experiment is being shelved, for now.
Carmona has not registered a save and has lost the last four games when he's taken the mound. The youngster has blown three saves in that time. According to the Elias Sports Bureau, Carmona is only the second pitcher in major-league history to lose four games in relief in a span of no more than seven days.
"In general, we're going to take a step back with Fausto," Indians manager Eric Wedge told the Plain Dealer. "We're going to let him catch his breath. We're going to use him in the sixth, seventh and eighth innings."
Carmona had earned his chance to close out games. After a call-up from Triple-A Buffalo May 12 until the day Wickman was dealt, Carmona posted a 1.03 ERA in 20 appearances and had assumed the set-up role.
But without Wickman as the last defense, Carmona -- like the Indians -- has struggled.