Reds 13, Indians 2
We are only eleven days away from the first real Indians game of 2015. At some point between now and then, Terry Francona is going to have to decide which five guys he plans to use in the starting rotation for the beginning of the season. After what went down in the early innings this afternoon in Goodyear, I don't think Danny Salazar is going to be among the five.
It isn't because he looked lost, in fact he had some very impressive results during his brief outing, but he continues to be plagued by an inability to keep the other team from hitting the baseball over the outfield fence.
In the 1st inning Salazar struck out Billy Hamilton, Joey Votto, and Brandon Phillips. Even more impressive: All three of those strikeouts were of the swinging variety.
Unfortunately, between Votto and Phillips' whiffs, Todd Frazier homered.
Then Devin Mesoraco led off the 2nd with a home run. Salazar gave up another three runs before the end of the inning, giving up two singles and a double, as well as hitting a batter. Before being lifted with one out in the 4th, Salazar hit another batter and allowed another hit.
Striking out six while walking no one sounds great, but the two hit batters belie the notion that he had great control this afternoon, and the two home runs he allowed give him five in four starts this month. (None of those starts were homer free, and none of them lasted more than four innings.)
Salazar continues to be an incredibly frustrating talent, precisely because there is clearly so much talent there, and at times he looks like a world beater. The closest he's come to a consistant stretch at the MLB level remains his first few weeks after being called up in 2013, when he did well enough to feel like the best man for the job when the Tribe hosted that year's Wild Card Game. The first couple innings of that contest were arguably the most thrilling baseball Cleveland has seen in the last seven years... then Delmon Young hit a long home run off him, and within a few minutes the wagon had lost its wheels.
Salazar just turned 25 in January, so it's not as though there's not plenty of time for him to put things all together and become the All-Star he sometimes looks like, but I don't think he has them together right now, and I'd rather see House and McAllister in the rotation next month.
Michael Bourn had a couple hits, including a double... Marc Rzepczynski, Scott Atchison, and Bryan Shaw each appeared without allowing any runs (though they each also allowed one hit for every two outs they recorded, which is not a good ratio)...
There wasn't much else that mattered today. Salazar's disappointing performance is the lede, the middle, and the closer.