It’s become cliched to say about a young athlete that he or she “made a statement” during a game or event. But the thing about cliches is that they always have a note of truth to them. Danny Salazar made his major league debut for the Indians today, and if his six innings, 7 strikeouts, 2 hits, 1 earned run, and 1 walk could talk, they would say “I’m not Trevor Baeur or Carlos Carrasco” or “I don’t really like Columbus.” It was the 4th most strikeouts by an Indians starter in a major league debut (behind Luis Tiant, Herb Score and Floyd Weaver, so not bad company).

Some thoughts on today’s 4-2 win:

1. The Indians ostensibly brought Salazar up for this one start with the intention of sending back to the AAA Columbus Cilppers afterwards, the same way they’ve done a couple of times this season with Trevor Bauer. Given the Salazar’s composure on the mound, I hope the Indians keep him on the active roster at least until Zach McAllister is ready to come back.

2. R.A. Dickey, he of the knuckleball, always reminds of Cleveland’s own knuckleball, Chris Perez. Speaking of Perez, this giving up hits and runs with two outs in the 9th thing is getting old. I like suspense and drama as much as the next person, but come on already.

3. In the top of the 6th, Blue Jays catcher Josh Thole spoiled Salazar’s no hitter with a single to left, except that Salazar had already struck him out. With an 0-2 count, the umpire called a beautiful pitch at the knees and right down the middle as ball 1.  In an alternate universe, Thole never got that hit. In an alternate universe, Josh Thole is this guy from Ni Hao, Kai Lan.

4. Also on the subject of Toronto Blue Jays player names, I’m glad Emilio Bonifacio didn’t play today or I would have constantly been thinking of Joey Buttafuoco.

5. Have I mentioned how awesome Salazar’s start was?

 

12 Comments

  • The Doctor says:

    great to see one of our spot-start callups baffling the opponent rather than the reverse for once. i didn’t know a heck of a lot about salazar going into this game – i certainly had no idea he threw so hard.

    my one complaint would be that the RISP numbers were horrific once again today – we have really been whiffing on our chances for early big innings in the last several games. and if anyone can explain to me what aviles was doing on the basepaths today, i’d love to hear it.

    • Sean Porter says:

      I have a feeling that if this blog (or the internet) was around for Barker’s perfect game that The Doctor would have had a post something like: “That perfect game by Barker was nice, but let me express my irritation concerning Rick Manning’s at bat in the 5th inning…” haha!

      Salazar’s performance was fantastic. Not only was his arm as good as advertised (threw with ease in the mid-to-upper 90s) but he commanded it well, and threw a devastating change up off of the heat. (In fact, it would dive so much that I swore it was a split-finger fastball) While I would like to see him throw inside a bit more, there was no doubt that his “stuff” is potentially top-of-the-rotation caliber.

      Carrasco and Bauer should each be strapped into a chair, with their eyelids forced open – a la ‘A Clockwork Orange’ – and forced to watch Salazar’s performance this afternoon on a continual loop until something gets through their respective thick skulls.

      • Shep says:

        LOL @ the Clockwork Orange reference :)

        Listened to the game while at work, and am watching the replay as I type this. Salazar sure was a a breath of fresh air. The club would be foolish to send him down yet, with how impressive he looked today.

      • The Doctor says:

        you have me pegged pretty accurately.

        i’ll always take a win, but this one could have easily turned into a game like last night’s where the plethora of blown opportunities game back to haunt us. there’s no point at which i’m ever going to be OK with a 1-10 RISP performance, even if we win.

        it will be interesting to see how things shake out once mcallister is back – i have a feeling we’re not going to see bauer in spot-start duty again for a while, and if we see carrasco at all the rest of the year, something has gone horribly wrong.

        • Drew says:

          Nothing has gone horribly wrong with Carlos Carrasco, his talent ceiling prior to the TJ surgery was a #4 or #5 starter at best. I never thought highly of him; pretty much a AAAA superstar if you ask me. Probably a good option for the back of the bullpen with his 95mph+ fastball.

          And now that Trevor Bauer is also throwing exclusively out of the stretch, maybe he is shifting to the bullpen. He has some absolutely wicked stuff and in his first few starts of the season, he was always able to work out of jams. I wonder if he needs to create them himself to get out of them or if he can come in with inherited runners and close the door.

          Salazar had one amazing start and while I hope it will continue, I will hold my breathe. I do not believe he is the next Stephan Strasburg and that he will be able to hold down a sub 3.00 ERA for several years. Justin Masterson is getting expensive. His Arb 2 earnings will likely be around $7.5M and closing in on $10M in Arb 3. An extension will be worth $15M a year for this guy. For a guy with a career ERA+ of 99, that’s quite a pretty penny. I’d actually consider trading him for prospects after the season.

          We all think that the Indians should decline the Ubaldo Jimenez option for 2014 at $8M and I think for a guy who throws 5 innings a start, that is a good idea. Maybe consider using the money to extend Scott Kazmir for 2 years at $5-7M a season. Then as DaveR suggests, the rotation for 2014 could feature Salazar, McAllister, Kluber, Kazmir, and Bauer. Three guys in that group can turn out quality starts with frequency and the others have it in their ability.

  • DaveR says:

    Well if the Indians can keep decent bats around for a few years, some form of a Salazar, Bauer, McAllister, Kluber, and hopefully Masterson rotation would be solid.

  • Gvl Steve says:

    Masterson is already 3rd time arbitration eligible this offseason. I would expect numbers in the $8 to 10MM range easily, with extension talk in the 4-6 years at $12-15MM per year range. Salazar will definitely jump ahead of Bauer and Carrasco on the spot start list, but the team doesn’t want him pitching 200 innings this year after only 87 last year. Carrasco is a head-scratcher. I look at his 96 MPH fastball and 12-6 curve and think he could be a lot more than a #4 or #5 starter, but something always holds him back. Maybe better command another year removed from TJ surgery will bring better location to his pitches. Remember, Kluber pretty much threw the same stuff down the middle of the plate last year and got killed. Pitch selection and location are important no matter how hard you throw, and Carrasco has neither right now.

    • Drew says:

      I feel like that is the definition of a AAAA superstar. They have killer stuff that makes your scratch your head, but there is just this little thing like poor strike zone recognition for a hitter or inability to command at least 2 pitches for a pitcher that relegates them to replacement-level. You are correct about Masterson; I misread baseball-reference. Even more reason to trade him this off-season.

  • Chris Burnham says:

    Being in Toronto, I’m privy to a lot of the talk from the other side. And there are some bozos refusing to give Salazar the kudos he deserved.

    When things don’t go exactly as planned in terms of expectations, it makes some people REALLY cranky. And delusional.

  • Sean Porter says:

    The idea of going into next season WITHOUT Masterson and depending on what’s left, either currently in the rotation or at AAA, is frightening.

    Justin Masterson is the only pitcher of the group of Kluber, Kazmir, McAllister, Carrasco, Bauer, Salazar, and a returning Tomlin that I would put ANY amount of money to give the Tribe 200 innings for the season.

    It’s not like this rotation is making anyone forget about the ’54 Tribe starters. Getting rid of Masterson would make a shaky rotation a potentially disastrous one.

    • Sean Porter says:

      Just read from Buster Olney on ESPN that there is speculation that the Indians and Cardinals could be in talks for a trade that would result in Asdrubal Cabrera going to St. Louis for possibly one of the Cards young arms – which they have many of.

  • Seattle Stu says:

    whew….cody allen has clearly learned from the best what it means to ‘close’ a game…..3 WHIP….next stop ganja & insulting fans….go tribe.

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