The Tribe has played so well this year that I’ve personally reached the point where believing that blowout losses should be shaken off by all Indians fans…because they are few and far between, and the team generally does a stellar job of bouncing back very quickly after a bad loss.
That theory will now be tested, as Oakland rocked Danny Salazar Tuesday night, en route to an easy 9-1 victory over the Tribe. Of far greater concern than the 9-1 loss–as the the Wahoos still stand a steady 20 games over the .500 mark on the season–is the perplexing performance of Salazar since the All-Star Break:
*1-2 record, 10.70 ERA, only 17.2 Innings Pitched, 11 Walks
*First outing last week against Chicago in returning from the Disabled List: 1.0 IP, 3 ER, 3 BB
*Tuesday night versus Oakland: 4.0 IP, 8 Hits, 6 ER, 3 BB, 2 SO 1 HR, 80 pitches
What is most concerning to me is the unwillingness to send Salazar on a tradition rehab assignment for one or two starts in the minor leagues to rebuild his stamina, regain the pinpoint command he has displayed much of this season, and to accomplish these goals without the pressure of pitching in a major league game. It’s not frowned upon to have a veteran pitcher go on a rebab for 10 days upon returning from the Disabled List. Were the Indians a bit selfish in wanting Salazar to ‘work out his kinks and regain his form’ at the Major League level? That is up for debate…but, as of right now, after watching his first two starts coming off the Disabled List, a minor league rehab looks absolutely golden compared to what we’ve seen.
Lull on Offense: After a home stand full of home runs, clutch RBIs, 2-strike hits, and lots of runs, the Indians have only mustered two runs in two games against Oakland, on solo home runs by Carlos Santana (Monday night) and Chris Gimenez (Tuesday night). Needless to say, the Tribe is thankful to be 1-1 in those two games. Every offense experiences lulls and I am confidence the Tribe will bounce back.
Setback for “The Flow”: In addition to the silent bats on offense, Mike Clevinger–who has had some great moments recently pitching in relief, took a step backwards Tuesday night, allowing three runs on four hits in one inning of mop-up work, as he pitched the eighth inning. It looks like “The Flow” will continue to pitch in the bullpen for the foreseeable future.
Credit Cookie: Carlos Carrasco’s outstanding start Monday night (8 IP 0 R) gave the Cleveland bullpen the rest it needed to be prepared for Tuesday night, in case Salazar struggled again…this indeed happened and the well-rested bullpen was able to close out the game without Terry Francona having to use any of his core of Brian Shaw, Cody Allen, and Andrew Miller.
Win the Series: Despite some tough luck on offense the past two games, the Tribe can still win the 3-game series against the Athletics with a victory on Wednesday.
Matinée On Deck: In a 3:35PM Eastern start time Wednesday afternoon, Trevor Bauer (9-5, 3.88) takes on Kevin Graveman (9-8, 4.09) as the Indians look to earn the series win in Oakland.