Cleveland Indians starting pitcher Danny Salazar made his first All-Star team this season, but since the start of July he's lasted six full innings just once in seven starts and is carrying a 9.31 ERA with ugly home run and walk rates. His turn was skipped in the rotation once, and he later spent a couple weeks on the disabled list, but in two starts since coming back from the DL, he's given up nine runs in five innings.
Indians pitching coach Mickey Callaway says Danny Salazar needs to step up his approach to preparation between starts. In an article at Cleveland.com, Paul Hoynes passes along this quote from Callaway on Salazar: "I think it's going to depend on his routines and things like that. He's got to shore those things up and make sure he's doing everything he can to go out there and throw the ball over the plate and have success, in between outings."
In the same article, Salazar says he's healthy, and also that he is working hard every day. If those two things are both true, it sounds like he needs some guidance on how to make a more effective use of the effort he's putting into things, because while the absence of an injury would be good, it wouldn't change the fact that Salazar hasn't had a good game in more than a month.
Manager Terry Francona says "I don't think it's anything remotely like a lazy thing. I think you have to remind young guys, 'Hey, some days when you really don't want to do it is the day you've really got to do it.'" I can understand why he doesn't want to call that laziness because that'd be a major criticism to level at player through the press, but whatever word you want to use, laziness would at the very least be a synonym for it. Francona cites Carlos Carrasco as someone who has put in everything needed to be successful after going through some rough patches early in his career. Hoynes notes that Salazar spent some time in Columbus last season for reasons having to do with his approach, so it sounds like the coaching staff feels Salazar has reverted to some bad habits in terms of preparation.
I thought Salazar looked like a pitcher who could've used more time off and preferred for the Indians to hold him out until September. Their medical staff obviously knows a great deal more than me, and given that no one in the know seems to think there's a health issue, it makes sense to put him out there every fifth game and hope the results improve. The stakes will soon be very high.