Wednesday night against the Yankees (one of baseball's most potent offenses), Danny Salazar gave up just 1 run in 7.1 innings, while striking out 8. That's a great night of work on the mound, but it's also been business as usual for a pitcher who was sent back to Triple-A for the beginning of this season.
Corey Kluber and Carlos Carrasco have established themselves as the #1 and 2 starters on this team, and with good cause. Kluber won the Cy Young Award last season, and leads all American League pitchers in fWAR this season. Carrasco ranks 7th in fWAR. If instead of looking at 2015, you look at the last 365 days, Kluber and Carrasco don't have just the two lowest FIP scores on the Indians, they have the two lowest FIP scores in the American League.
Salazar though, has out-pitched them both during the last five weeks. In Danny's last six starts, he's carrying a 1.48 ERA in 42.2 innings, with 43 strikeouts. Those 42.2 innings represent an average of just over 7 per start. He's gone at least 6 innings in each of those games, which is the longest such streak of his career. Six quality starts in a row, after he'd never made more than two of them consecutively in his career.
This recent stretch has lowered Salazar's ERA for the season to 3.26, which is tops on the team and 11th in the American League. He ranks 13th in FIP, so either way you look at it, he's been among the top 15 pitchers in the AL this season. He's averaging 10.24 strikeouts per 9 innings, which would be the 4th-highest figure in franchise history.
Last week I said the Indians rotation had been really good this season, but hadn't been top five in baseball. Every week they seem to be building a stronger case though. Kluber and Carrasco have been the best 1-2 punch this side of Dodger Stadium, and now Salazar has become the best #3 starter in the American League. There's work to be done at the very back end of the rotation, but if that comes together, this group could end the argument.