My expectations for Scott Carroll on Sunday were not very optimistic. Actually, that’s not fair. My expectations for Carroll were that he’d show up, get lit up like a Christmas tree, and then never be heard from again in Chicago.
These should have been your expectations as well.
Carroll, after all, is a 29-year old pitcher that was making his MLB debut on Sunday after eight years in the minors and a couple of surgeries. There was a reason Carroll had spent eight seasons in the minors without sniffing a Major League roster, too. He’s rather ordinary overall, basically the living definition of “organizational filler.”
In his minor league career Carroll has amassed a record of 27-38 with an ERA of 3.95, while striking out only 5.4 hitters per nine innings. The one stat that struck out to me about Carroll, the one that gave the slightest glimmer of hope, was that he only walked 2.6 batters per nine innings. Of course, his 1.502 WHIP in 255.2 innings of Triple-A basically wiped that right out.
This was a guy getting by on less than spectacular stuff, but seemed to throw a lot of strikes and let the cards fall where they may.
Generally that’s the kind of guy that gets lit up by Major League hitters, but that didn’t happen on Sunday.
Carroll showed up to Chicago Sunday and attacked Rays hitters. He just stood there on the mound and said “I am nothing special, here’s my 90mph fastball, I’m going to put it where I want it and let’s see what you can do about it.” By and large, Rays hitters couldn’t do much.
He needed only 100 pitches to get through 7.1 innings, striking out only three, but walking only two batters and allowing only six hits. He let the Rays put the ball in play, but he kept the hitters off balance, and didn’t give up any solid contact. And he did all this while out-deuling David Price! The guy who won the god damn Cy Young Award in 2012.
Oh, and he did all of this in front of a large contingent of family and friends, as Carroll hails from Missouri, and the drive isn’t that far, only incredibly boring. CSN interviewed his parents during the game as Carroll was recording his first Major League strikeout. They showed his mother in tears as he was removed from the game to a standing ovation in the eighth inning.
The White Sox are currently 13-13 thanks to Carroll, and I have no idea what this season is going to bring for them. Still, I’m having a hard time imagining there are going to be many stories about this year’s team better than Carroll’s on Sunday.
Sure, Jose Abreu is destroying Major League pitching at an alarming rate, and could be the talk of the town this summer, but Sunday’s game is one I’m going to remember for a while.
I don’t know if Carroll is going to pitch again for the White Sox, and if he does there’s a good chance he won’t make it through the fifth inning, but you know what? It doesn’t matter. This is a guy who has stuck it out in the minors for damn near a decade, just hoping to one day get a chance to pitch in the big leagues. On Sunday he got that chance, and he fucking killed it.
No matter what happens, they’ll never be able to take that away from him.
Side note that has nothing to do with Sunday but is still an interesting fact about Carroll. Before transferring to Missouri State, Carroll went to Purdue on a football scholarship. While there he was a quarterback serving as a backup to Kyle Orton.
Keep up to date with everything in Chicago sports by following The Chicago Homer on Twitter.