There’s certainly no denying the type of talent fire baller Danny Salazar has hidden in his golden right arm – mid- to upper 90s fastball, solid-average control, tons of strikeouts. And, yet, the results just haven’t been there this season – so far.
Tuesday night’s clunker is just the last example: 4.1 innings, seven hits, two walks, six strikeouts, five runs (four earned), and one homer served up to the struggling – understatement of the year – Mike Moustakas. All of which was wrapped up in the not-so-tidy 89 pitches.
The Moustakas three-run bomb came in the top of the fourth inning, with the Tribe leading 1-0.
Once again, Salazar tempted the Tribe faithful with his potential – he now has fanned 23 in 18.1 innings of work – only to fail to make it out of the fourth inning for the third consecutive game, though some questionable defense didn’t help.
Jarrod Dyson beat out a bunt single as both Salazar and Jason Kipnis failed to make it to the bag in time. And center fielder Michael Bourn came up empty on a play at the wall resulting in a double for Billy Butler.
Lefty reliever Josh Outman, who is quickly becoming one of the better moves of the offseason, tossed an inning-and-a-third of scoreless ball, dropping his ERA down to a tidy 1.17. And C.C. Lee and Bryan Shaw sandwiched solid outings around Scott Atchison’s first implosion of the year.
On offense, it was all about Big Game James Shields, who struck out the side in the both the fifth and sixth innings en route to eight punch outs on the night.
Bourn’s lumber is seemingly waking from its 2014 slumber; he went 2 for 5. Nick Swisher, Michael Brantley and Yan Gomes each chipped in two hits as well.
Tribe takes on Kansas City tonight, featuring team ace Justin Masterson against soft-tossing southpaw Jason Vargas. Game time is 7:05.