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Danny Salazar not particularly sharp, overpowers White Sox anyway in 7-1 victory

Danny Salazar doesn't need his best control when he's consistently throwing 96-mph heat.

Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

Indians 7, White Sox 1

Box Score

Indians advance to 2-1

--

Danny Salazar may not have had his best stuff today for the Cleveland Indians, but he had enough to overpower the Chicago White Sox lineup on the way to a 7-2 victory. The Tribe offense, led primarly by Francisco Lindor and Carlos Santana, provided enough runs early to bury the White Sox before they even had a chance to mount a comeback.

The weather in Chicago was bizarre today. It ranged from dark and snowy, to sunny and clear, to sunny and snowy, and everything in between. At times it got bad enough to look the game could be called, but thankfully the snow came and went often enough for the two teams to get a full game in. Part of that could be because Danny Salazar was throwing so much damn heat.

From first pitch until just before he was taken out, Salazar maintained a fastball in the 95-98 range, frequently hitting the top of that range. The only problem was, that was all he had. He found early that his slider and breaking balls were not working, and he wound up relying entirely on his fastball. Luckily, it was great and he was able to blow by the lowly White Sox lineup, but one or two more starts with this kind of lack of pitch variety are going to hurt Salazar as the season progresses.

Even with just throwing a fastball, Salazar was erratic at times. He finished the day with only three walks, but two of them came during a rough second inning when he issued free bases to Melky Cabrera and Avisail Garcia back-to-back. Yan Gomes bailed Salazar out with a fantastic pick play at first base, nailing Avisail Garcia who was floating off the bag. Gomes and Mike Napoli coordinated the play perfectly, and Salazar got back on track shortly after.

Undoubtedly the most important things the Indians offense did today were things it felt like they failed to do all of last season -- hit with runners on, and hit with two outs. In the fifth inning, with two outs, the Indians racked up four hits, including a double from Yan Gomes, to score two runs. At that point in the game the runs were not really needed (they were already up by four), but if the Indians suddenly know how to hit when it matters, that will go a long way towards them competing throughout the season.

Of the Indians' big offseason acquisitions, only Napoli had a great game again. He finished the day 1-for-3 with a run scored and several impressive defensive plays, including some challenging picks that I cannot imagine Carlos Santana would have made. I'll re-iterate it again: I love the Mike Napoli signing.

The other veterans who got a lot of time in this game -- Rajai Davis, Juan Uribe, and Marlon Byrd -- combined to go 2-for-12 with seven strikeouts. The only hits were a second-inning triple from Davis that eventually turned into a run thanks to a sacrifice fly from Jason Kipnis and a double from Byrd. Outside of that, the new-look Indians outfield continues to look bad, with Jose Ramirez in left field being the only respite against left-handed batters so far.

Perhaps the most impressive thing Davis did today was catch a fly ball in a blizzard. When the weather got really bad in the fifth inning, Davis seemingly lost sight of an Adam Eaton flyball. He eventually locked into it again and had to sprint to the wall to make a great diving catch that looked more like a touchdown reception in December than a routine fly ball in April.

Trevor Bauer made his second appearance of the season, after giving up a two-run home run to David Ortiz in the season opener. He looked much better this time around, throwing two flawless innings and striking out a lone batter.

White Sox starter John Danks has a history of struggling against the Indians, and that proved to be the case again today. As far as I am concerned, the Indians should be doing everything. Outside of a rough first two innings in which he allowed five combined runs, however, Danks did not look all that bad. He eventually settled into a groove until the fifth inning when he was arguably left in for a few too many batters and got knocked around for another two runs.

The next two days will not be such easy matchup for the Indians. They face Chris Sale tomorrow and Jose Quintana on Sunday.

Win Expectancy Chart


Source: FanGraphs

Roll Call

Roll Call Info
Total comments 399
Total commenters 43
Commenter list 7foot3, APV, Andrew Kinsman, Brian Hemminger, BuenosAires_Dawg, Crashington, Deep South Ken, Denver Tribe Fan, GratefulDawg, Jay, John H IL, JulioBernazard, LosIndios, Matt R. Lyons, Matt Y., Ockus_NYC, PaulHoynes'Mustache, PyroKinesis, Roger Dorn, Ryan, Ryan Y, Rygordo, Scott Brady, Stairs, TribeGuy1997, Vachos, Zaza Braggins, _thenick, barsham, emily522, friend of the feather, jhon, jhonnylhover48, mainstreetfan, no1ever, notthatnoise, profdlp, stuart dean, supermarioelia, tgriffith1992, tribelover, westbrook, woodsmeister
Story URLs
# Commenter # Comments
1 TribeGuy1997 52
2 PyroKinesis 42
3 Brian Hemminger 30
4 BuenosAires_Dawg 29
5 JulioBernazard 26
6 PaulHoynes'Mustache 23
7 westbrook 21
8 friend of the feather 16
9 Vachos 15
10 GratefulDawg 13
11 supermarioelia 13
12 tgriffith1992 12
13 Ryan Y 9
14 APV 8
15 tribelover 8
16 Ryan 8
17 Crashington 7
18 LosIndios 6
19 stuart dean 5
20 Zaza Braggins 5
21 jhon 4
22 mainstreetfan 4
23 notthatnoise 4
24 Andrew Kinsman 4
25 woodsmeister 4
26 barsham 4
27 jhonnylhover48 3
28 Jay 3
29 Scott Brady 3
30 no1ever 2
31 _thenick 2
32 Rygordo 2
33 Denver Tribe Fan 2
34 Matt Y. 1
35 Deep South Ken 1
36 emily522 1
37 Stairs 1
38 profdlp 1
39 Matt R. Lyons 1
40 7foot3 1
41 Roger Dorn 1
42 Ockus_NYC 1
43 John H IL 1