Indians fans rejoiced last Saturday as Danny Salazar had a fantastic return to the starting lineup. The 27-year-old righty looked like the confident Salazar of the past against the struggling Blue Jays, going seven full and striking out eight.
This year hasn’t been all that great to Salazar, as his early struggles had him finding himself in the bullpen. On top of that, injuries kept him in the dugout for at least a month. However, Danny found success in throwing strikes, something he struggled to do in his first ten starts. In fact, he struggled to throw more than 60% of pitches in the strike-zone. That percentage went up this weekend, reaching a season high 70.9%. Indians pitching coach Mickey Callaway commented on the success by saying “he throws more strikes, he’s more athletic and he gets more chase out of the zone…when you throw a lot of strikes, you’re going to have a lot of success.”
With Salazar’s success this weekend, here are three reasons the Indians can benefit from his great outing looking forward.
Alright Tribe fans and Danny lovers, don’t kill me for this one. I have been under the impression that since Salazar’s move to the pen and struggles to start the year, that he could be valuable in a trade. With his most recent start being a very successful one, the Indians can wave that over team’s heads to get more than they first thought. Salazar will likely get one more start before the deadline, so who knows how that could affect what the Indians do moving forward. One thing that is undeniable is that as of now, teams are probably making calls to the Indians to find out what they can give up for the 97 MPH throwing right hander.
Could Salazar be that third starter the Indians wanted him to be to start the year? If we continue to get outings like last weekend, you better believe he will fill that role. This could be very beneficial to the Tribe come July 31, as they could go after another bat and give up fewer prospects than they would for a Sonny Grey or Yu Darvish. As I said before, Salazar’s next start is a very important one for his Indians career. If he does well, maybe the Indians will use that as an excuse to keep him.
Say the Indians do keep Salazar after his recent success, that leaves an odd man out between Mike Clevenger, Josh Tomlin, and Trevor Bauer. Mike Clevenger has been outstanding for his youth, in my mind he deserves to be kept in the rotation as the fourth starter. However, Tomlin and Bauer are both inconsistent and straight up scary to watch. You never know what you’ll get with these guys, which is not a winning formula. I know what you’re thinking “Dude, they both have had two great starts as of late”. Congrats, but right now the Indians need consistency on all fronts. It’s a toss up, but if I had to choose I would put Bauer in the bullpen. While he may pout and whine, it’s what is best for the team going into the playoffs and October. Who knows, maybe it will be a wake-up call like it was last year, and he will get another opportunity to start and do well.
Only time will tell when pondering the Salazar situation. One thing is certain though, his most recent start is promising. Giving more performances like that could give this team the boost it will need heading into the playoffs.
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