Pitcher in Profile: Danny Salazar (Cleveland Indians)
23 year-old Danny Salazar wasn’t supposed to do that well, considering he had started the season playing Double-A ball. In typical baseball fashion, his job was to play one game in place of struggling right hander Carlos Carrasco then head back down to Triple-A. That was it.
No one expected him to pitch a no-hitter for five innings.
Shutting the Jays out going into the sixth inning with seven strike outs and only one walk, would be considered a pretty good day by any pitcher’s standards. Add in a fastball clocked at 99 mph with an average speed of 94-95 mph and you’re looking at a solid foundation from which to grow such a young player.
The Tribe’s final series game against the Toronto Blue Jays last week ended 4-2. Despite the Indian’s lineup not able to open up the game in the first inning when presented with the opportunity—Carlos Santana flew out leaving two runners on—by the sixth, it appeared that they were willing and able to knock in a few runs to support their young pitcher.
Salazar was pulled in the sixth after finally allowing the first hit of the game for the Jays and the first for Salazar’s career. That puts his major league stats at 1-0 and a 1.50 ERA—not too shabby.
There was no sign of nervousness at all in the kid and he was able to keep a composure you would normally see in more experienced pro ball players. That’s a very good sign for Tribe fans who are always nervous about their team’s on-again, off-again pitching staff.
Take for instance Wednesday’s 5-4 loss to the Jays when RH Joe Smith let the bases load then Munenori Kawasaki broke his 0 for 18 slump hitting a single into left center, scoring two runs in the top of the 9th with the final run being scored off of a fielding error. And I won’t even get into June’s 8 game losing streak.
Hopefully, though, Salazar’s excellent performance will inspire the rest of the bullpen to step up their game. With any luck, the Indians can close in on Detroit’s 2.5 game lead and position themselves better in the Wild Card standing (they’re 4.5 games back).
Tonight we’ll see if the Tribe can capitalize at home against the Royals in their first series game, and the last series before the All-Star Break.
What do you think the Indians need to do going into the All-Star break?