Two weeks ago I wrote that the Indians should send Danny Salazar down to Columbus to see if he could better develop his off-speed pitches (or something). Then he went out and made his best start of the year. He's now been bad in two of the three starts since then though, and tonight he was finished after only 4 innings, because he's already thrown 4 million pitches (okay, it was only 98). He gave up two home runs in those four innings, and while those were the only runs he allowed, it probably should have been worse. Even without it being worse, 2 runs in 4 innings is a lousy start, and I'm back to believing Salazar should be sent down. If his next start doesn't go better, and if Trevor Bauer rebounds from his first bad outing of the year for Columbus, I think the two of them will be swapped by Memorial Day.
The Indians certainly still had a decent shot at winning the game when Salazar was lifted, because David Murphy homered to right field in the top of the 5th, making it a one-run game. In fact, the Indians maybe even should have been ahead at that point, given that they'd had two on with one out in the 2nd and 4th innings, but they couldn't score any of those runners.
C.C. Lee came in for the 5th and immediately gave up a single to Jose Bautista, followed by Edwin Encarnacion hitting his second home run of the night, which made it a 4-1 game. With the lineup having spent a week's worth of production in Wednesday's 15-4 win, so a three-run deficit would be too much to overcome. Yan Gomes drove in an 8th-inning run with a single, and which brought the go-ahead run to the plate, but Murphy couldn't repeat his earlier heroics.
The Indians didn't screw around with any false hope in the 9th inning; Mike Aviles, Michael Bourn, and Nick Swisher quickly and quietly went in order, leaving the Indians with a 4-2 loss.
On the bright side... um... Murphy hit that homer... Gomes threw out an attempted base thief... Jesus Aguilar drew a walk in his first MLB plate appearance... Asdrubal Cabrera hit his team-leading 11th double of the season... Scott Atchison pitched 1.2 scoreless innings...
This one took 3:23 to finish, which is way too long for a ho-hum 4-2 game, but Terry Francona wanted to make sure every pitcher in the organization got some work in, I guess so that they can tell their grandchildren they pitched in Canada or something.
The Indians are now 19-22, only 2.5 games out of the second Wild Card spot, if you want to see the glass as half full; in last place in the AL Central, if you want to see it as half empty. They're returning home for the weekend, and they've got a nice 12-8 record so far, which is good. They're playing Oakland, who has the best run differential in baseball, which is bad.
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