Game 50, Indians at Mariners
JA Happ vs. Danny Salazar, 1:10pm
Danny Salazar is a small righty with a huge fastball and an array of visually incredible breaking/offspeed pitches. The Dominican signed with Cleveland in 2006, debuted in the Indians US rookie affiliate in 2008, and logged 100 innings in A ball in 2009. That season, he struck out 5 per 9, and had a FIP pushing 5. A live arm is nice and all, but his transformation from org depth to nuclear-grade young ace in waiting is still pretty stunning. Part of the problem was health, as he missed most of 2010 and 2011 with injury, but he returned as a different guy – he started missing more bats in high-A and dominated in a quick trip to AA. Then, in 2013, no one could touch him. He struck out 194 in 144 innings, culminating in 10 mostly brilliant starts with the major league club. Expectations were incredibly high last year, but he scuffled a bit despite a solid 3.52 FIP. This being the Indians, Salazar yielded a BABIP of .343, and struggled against same-handed hitters.
Part of the problem is his slider. It looks great, and when he keeps it down, it’s a good swing-and-miss pitch. But he has a tendency to hang it, resulting in a career average-against of .307 and a SLG% over .500. That’s incredibly bad for someone who throws so hard and uses the breaking ball as a putaway pitch. Luckily for Salazar, his change/split has been better, and tends to stay down more than the slider. Thanks to the split, Salazar’s run reverse splits over his brief career; his FIP against lefties is under 3, while his FIP against righties is a full run higher. The splitter’s helped him strike out more lefties, while mistake sliders have pushed his HR rate higher against righties. This season, Salazar’s added a curve ball to try and get a breaking ball that works against righties AND lefties. It’s a bit too early to tell if it’ll be successful, as he’s only thrown 30 or so of them.
1: Jackson, CF
2: Smith, RF
3: Cano, 2B
4: Cruz, DH
5: Seager, 3B
6: Castillo, C
7: Morrison, 1B
8: Miller, SS
9: Ackley, LF
Sounders game today at 2pm, so if you go to the game be advised: it’s going to be crowded in Sodo.
The Rainiers beat Round Rock last night behind a great game from Forrest Snow, who allowed 1R in 6 IP. The R’s had their customary struggles in the 9th, but Mayckol Guaipe only gave up 2, and the Rainiers had enough of a cushion. Mike Montgomery starts today.
Rancho Cucamonga beat Bakersfield 3-1 in a game with plenty of M’s ties. The winning pitcher for the Quakes was Erik Bedard, and RC’s starting SS was Dillon Moyer, Jamie’s son. Dan Altavilla got the loss. Bakersfield sends lefty Tyler Pike to the mound today against the Quakes.
Clinton lost 5-1 to Cedar Rapids despite a solid game from starter Lukas Schiraldi. Reliever Hawtin Buchanon gave up 4 runs in 2/3 of an inning in the 7th, though, and that was that. Zach Littell starts today against the Kernels.