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Second Thoughts Game #10: Indians 3, White Sox 7

Salazar makes history as Abreu and White Sox sink Tribe

Second Thoughts Game #10: Indians 3, White Sox 7
Rookie first baseman Jose Abreu clubs two home runs in Chicago's 7-3 victory over the Tribe. (Photo: Getty Images)
April 11, 2014
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All good things must come to an end and such was the case for the Indians' 14-game win streak against the White Sox. Of course, with no Jason Giambi to summon from the bench, the task was somewhat tougher. Although he made history, Danny Salazar was for the most part ineffective against Chicago's lineup as he once again had to make a number of pitches just to get through the first three frames.

Player of the Game: Jose Abreu (2-4, 2 HR, 3 RBI, 2 R, K).

The Cuban defector whom the White Sox signed to a six-year, $68 million deal this offseason appears to be earning his paycheck at least in the early goings of the season as he is now batting .300 with four home runs and 14 RBI, both of which either tie or lead the American League.

On Thursday, Abreu's power was on full display as he smacked a pair of home runs off Salazar and Josh Outmanto pretty much help put the game in the bag for Chicago. Last season, the White Sox struggled on offense as they scored the fewest runs and hit the third fewest home runs in the league. Their acquisitions of Abreu as well as Matt Davidson and Adam Eaton help add youth and additional run-producing potential to their lineup.

So far, as far as Abreu is concerned, he seems to be taking to their cleanup spot as well as they could hope.

A Strange Start for Salazar

Danny Salazar had a somewhat impressive pitching stat line on Thursday, but not in a way that really helped his team. For the first time in the history of the modern baseball era (post-1900), a starting pitcher has recorded double-digit strikeouts while only pitching three and two-thirds innings.

Yep, that was what Salazar accomplished on Thursday as he recorded only 11 outs with 10 of them being punchouts. Sounds impressive, but considering the fact that he also allowed five runs and threw 93 pitches in that span, it's not exactly something you can hang your hat on.

There's no denying it. Danny Salazar can strike out batters. It's the process of getting those whiffs that needs some work. Throwing quality breaking pitches and conserving his pitch count are the things that Salazar needs to work on to get to that next level as a dominant starter. Both of the home runs allowed by the right-hander were off secondary pitches (A slider to Abreu and a changeup to Alexei Ramirez).

The fastball and velocity are there. It's just a matter of utilizing all his pitches effectively and throwing them all for strikes on a consistent basis.

Will the Real Asdrubal Please Stand Up

Asdrubal Cabrera has pretty much picked up right where he left off last season as the whipping boy for Tribe fans. But he hasn't helped his cause with his Mendoza Line batting mark and putrid performance with runners in scoring position so far this year (.100 average).

However, we have seen somewhat of a surge from the former All-Star shortstop in the last two games as he has gone 4-for-8 with a homer and a pair of doubles and runs scored. Is this just a temporary spike in production or is he starting to snap out of his slump?

On an interesting note, Cabrera played Thursday's game out of the leadoff spot. He led off in 7 games during spring training and batted .333. He's not the guy I'd typically want to pencil into the leadoff spot based on the type of hitter he has become, but based on his performance thus far, he's also not the first guy I'd want up to bat in a run-scoring situation either.

Facts and Notes

  • The Indians, who led the major leagues in batting against left-handed pitching in 2013 with a combined .271 average, are only batting .192 against southpaws to start 2014, which is 26th in the majors.
  • Rehabbing Indians center fielder Micheal Bourn played for the AA Akron RubberDucks in their home opener on Thursday and went 0-for-4 with a walk, but also reached on an error.
  • Indians veteran DH Jason Giambi is set to join Bourn in Akron on Friday for his first rehab assignment as he recovers from a rib injury.
  • Veteran reliever Scott Atchison has yet to allow a run in five appearances (6.1 innings-pitched) and has recorded a strikeout in all but one of his outings.

Up Next: Indians (5-5) vs. White Sox (5-5) @ U.S. Cellular Field. First pitch at 8:10 ET.

The Indians have been inconsistent to start the year on all fronts and are hoping to find their groove sooner rather than later. Carlos Carrasco will go for the Tribe against White Sox ace Chris Sale. The Indians had their way with the lanky left-hander a year ago as he went 0-4 with an 8.61 ERA in four starts against them. Unfortunately, Carrasco hasn't fared much better against the Sox from the South Side as he owns a career 0-3 mark in five starts against them with a 6.75 ERA.

Jake Dungan is a communications student at Stark State College and an intern with the Akron RubberDucks. Follow him on Twitter @MajorLeagueJake.

User Comments

Hiram
April 11, 2014 - 5:03 PM EDT
Tony,

totally agree with you on the importance of Aguilar and the struggles vs lefties. I don't think they need dramatic game changers but another bat or two against left handed pitching would help dramatically.
Ross
April 11, 2014 - 4:48 PM EDT
I know that Salazar needs to have better control of all his pitches, especially the off speed ones, however I'm curious whether he may be tipping off when something off speed is going to be thrown, giving hitters an opportunity to really sit on them.
Themaven
April 11, 2014 - 3:42 PM EDT
Salazar needs to bag his POS slider and learn a cutter.His slider and change are sometimes indistinguishable,he needs a 90-91 mph breaking pitch to keep hitters guessing.

I've been saying the DH against lefties is a weakness since before the season started,glad to see you come aboard there T.

LeaguePark
April 11, 2014 - 1:46 PM EDT
Masterson (who doesn't want to stay), ACab and Bourn should be traded for a right handed batting CF and a Starter (pref a lefty)

Put Lindor and Aguilar in the lineup
Tony
April 11, 2014 - 12:43 PM EDT
Tweeted about this a few times, but I see an issue coming to the surface when the Indians face left-handed pitching. They have just three right-handed bats on their roster (Aviles, Gomes and Raburn) and all of those guys were bench guys going into last season. Not having a legit RHed bat in the middle of the lineup hurts if you ask me. Sure, they have three switch-hitters in the everyday lineup, but they also have way too many lefties in the lineup when they face a lefty for my taste. The advancement of Aguilar this season is going to be huge if you ask me.
yourtribe
April 11, 2014 - 12:41 PM EDT
I also would have rode harang as long as possible. A month or more , who knows. And put carrasco in pen.
yourtribe
April 11, 2014 - 12:39 PM EDT
Salazar needs to work on another pitch or two and his location. Way to many fat pitches over the plate leads to a lot of gopher balls. Counting the playoff game he has given up 11 homers in 65 innings! Teams have adjusted now he needs too.
Kristin Johnson
April 11, 2014 - 12:33 PM EDT
I would like to know why the front office add a right handed bat like Marlon Byrd,Michael Morse or Corey Hart via FA or trade for Mark Trumbo. IMO Gomes and Raburn performed above their heads. The also erred in by cutting Harang in ST. The staff needs an innings eater.

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