There was no drama to be had Friday night. Danny Salazar effectively ended the game early.
Salazar (8 INN/3 H/1 ER/8 SO/5 BB) dominated the Royals and the Tribe put up a three-spot in the third. It was smooth sailing from there. Salazar’s only blemish was a hanging curve to the suddenly dangerous Drew Butera (!!!!), who launched his second homer in as many days.
These are also Butera’s only two homers on the season, so that kinda tells you how unlikely these occurrences are. You’re doing double-takes and checking the rewind on your DVR to make sure this actually happened.
Whatever the case, it seemed to flip Salazar’s switch. From that moment on, there was no messing around. Once he found his groove, he was delightfully overpowering. He was still hitting the upper-90s with control in the eighth inning. The Royals, on the other hand, were simply overmatched. Royals’ starter Edison Volquez (6.1 INN/7 H/5 ER/5 SO/4 BB) was his usual inconsistent self, setting the Tribe up with a real good chance to win the series and to potentially retake first place in the AL Central.
Tyler Naquin hit his first career homer. AND CHIEN-MING WANG IS STILL ALIVE AND PITCHING. This astounded me. It also made me feel very, very old. (I turned 37 two Sundays ago; guys like him and Bartolo are not human. Unlesssssss, y’know, like Marlon Byrd, you know a guy who knows a guy who knows a guy who…)
All in all, a good night as the Indians. They have crept back to a half-game deficit behind the ailing Royals who are missing a lot of key guys. You have to take advantage before they get healthy again. In this crucial series, the Indians appear to up to the task this weekend.
W: Danny Salazar (6-3); L: Edison Volquez (5-5)