The Cleveland Indians didn’t exactly send out their A-Squad today. That’s not to take anything away from Derek Holland shutting them down, or the Chicago White Sox lineup making Danny Salazar regret waking up this morning, because the Indians backup lineup is not too shabby, either. Just be glad you don’t have to watch this exact lineup every day.
It was a lineup full of right-handed hitters against a soft-tossing left-hander in Derek Holland, which is not a great matchup for the Indians. On top of that, they also had Michael Martinez in a starting role to give Jason Kipnis, who recently returned from a shoulder injury, the day off.
It went about as well as you’d expect.
All Danny Salazar to do was pitch the third-straight Indians shutout for the first time in over 60 years in order to win, but the #bum just couldn’t do it. He came out in the first inning and didn’t look particularly sharp. Okay, no problem. Danny always has an inning where he doesn’t look great, but he usually works out of it pretty quickly. Oh no the hits aren’t stopping here are some more oh no another one please make it stop.
The difference between first-inning Danny Salazar and rest-of-the-game Danny Salazar was a stark contrast. In the first inning, Salazar faced nine batters, needed 35 pitches, and his fourseam fastball averaged 94.1 miles per hour, according to Baseball Savant. In the second, Salazar faced exactly three batters and struck them all out with a 96.4 mile per hour fastball.
Salazar’s day was a weird one, overall. He never again looked as bad as the first inning, but he also never dominated like the second. His outing even featured this little back-to-back performance:
You vs the guy she told you not to worry about. pic.twitter.com/mweyeW7Ttb— Let's Go Tribe (@LetsGoTribe) April 23, 2017
By the time the damage of that first inning was done, the Indians were down 3-0 with eight innings left to play. Okay, no problem. That’s plenty of time for this offense, sure they’ve started slow but they’ve got it all together recently and Lindor even hit a solo home run in the fourth. Oh no they keep hitting into double plays and Michael Martinez can’t swing a bat without falling over please make it stop.
The most disheartening inning came in the fifth, when the Indians had runners on second and third and came away with nothing. Roberto Perez and Michael Martinez both blew it with gut-wrenching strikeouts, which is not a huge surprise. But following a Carlos Santana walk to load the bases, even Lindor’s bat magic couldn’t get a run across the plate. He joined the party and struck out for the last out of the inning.
Derek Holland and the rest of the White Sox staff seemed to have a clear plan of attack against Frankie: down and inside. Almost everything was thrown there, and one of the few that were was put into the seats of Great American Comiskey Guaranteed Cellular Verizon Stadium Field Park Venue.
Not pictured by the Baseball Savant data, for some reason, is a ball almost in the dirt that Lindor lifted for a single late in the game.
Defense, the bedrock of a winning team in just about any sport. The Indians have a pretty great one, anchored by Francisco Lindor at shortstop and a pair of catchers who can defend just about anything, even if they hit like they’re blindfolded and on fire. Okay, no problem. All they have to do is play like they have all year, hope the offense comes around, and win in a dramatic walk-off. Oh no Abe Almonte just tomahawk chopped a ball in right field, Michael Martinez dropped an easy lob at first base, Roberto Perez dropped a laser from left field that would have ended the inning, Carlos Santana missed an easy line drive, and Michael Martinez forgot how to tag out base stealers make it stop.
There’s just nothing else to say about this defense. The White Sox weren’t much better at fielding, either. Todd Frazier’s dropped foul ball just didn’t count as an error. Just a bad day all around for fans of fundamental baseball or anything resembling a major-league team. It’s a long season, and the Indians wanted to rest a few players before a travel day. We’ll forget about this game in an hour and move on with our lives.
But at least this happened:
Fat, shirtless, dumbass fan on field. Tackled and handcuffed with two out in ninth.— paul hoynes (@hoynsie) April 23, 2017