Fifteen final thoughts as the Blue Jays take the series 2-1 and the season series 4-2 at Rogers Centre.
1. I can’t help but wonder if changes are coming soon.
2. Indians manager Terry Francona said before the game that he talks to General Manager Chris Antonetti all the time. But he said when the Indians return to Cleveland for a six-game homestand that opens today, he and Antonetti need to hammer out some roster decisions.
3. I wonder what will happen with designated hitter/first baseman Jason Giambi (right calf strain), who is eligible to come off the disabled list Monday. With the Indians struggling at the plate (except for Wednesday), there doesn’t seem to be room for a 43-year-old who might hit an occasional home run. He batted .183 with nine homers in 71 games last season.
4. Francona won’t agree, especially because Giambi is so valuable in the clubhouse. “We’ve got G coming. We’ll make sure we’re organized and what fits and when,” Francona said of the upcoming discussion.
5. I wonder if infielder Jesus Aguilar, called up from Triple-A Thursday, was just a quick fix after outfielder Nyjer Morgan was placed on the disabled list or if the Indians are so worried about their poor hitting against left-handers that Aguilar might have a chance to stick. In 37 games with the Clippers this season, Aguilar hit .346 with four homers and nine RBI s. lefties.
6. I wonder how long the Indians will keep Danny Salazar (1-4, 5.53 ERA) in the rotation. Salazar, pitching on seven days rest, looked strong in the first inning on Thursday, then struggled in the second. He lasted only four innings and threw 98 pitches. On a staff that came into the night leading the American League in fewest home runs allowed, Salazar gave up two, running his team-high total to eight. (I don’t think the Indians will send Salazar down or put him in the bullpen any time soon, but it might come up in conversation.)
7. Asked about the homers, Salazar said, “(Edwin) Encarnacion, I shook (off) the pitch, that was my fault. I shouldn’t throw that pitch there. Juan Francisco, for me that was a good pitch, but high in the count (3-1), they’re going to be ready to hit everything there.”
8. Francona could have made an excuse for the homers. But he didn’t agree with the premise that Salazar, 24, is just a youngster making a few too many mistakes.
9. “I don’t know if everything’s always youth,” Francona said. “I think some of it is throwing a fastball early in the count to the wrong hitter. I think five of his home runs have been two strikes with his breaking ball. It’s leaving his breaking ball over the middle of the plate.”
10. I wonder how long Carlos Carrasco, who is out of options, will remain on the roster. With tough decisions looming and now demoted to the bullpen, his time with the Indians may soon be up. The Indians have to be exasperated that Carrasco doesn’t seem to agree with the change in arm motion he worked on with pitching coach Mickey Callaway over the winter.
11. I wonder how long Carlos Santana will remain the cleanup hitter. Santana is batting .158.
12. I wonder if John Axford will ever regain his closer's role even though his demotion is supposed to be temporary. (Axford obviously realized the possible impact of walking Jose Reyes in the eighth inning because he slammed down the rosin bag, knowing he was coming out.)
13. I wonder when players like Ryan Raburn, a career .259 hitter against left-handers, will come around. After going 0 for 3 against Jays’ left-hander J.A. Happ, he’s hit .162 vs. lefties so far. “We have guys with track records, they will hit,” Francona said.
14. “A lot has to do with that guy on the mound, he’s doing his job,” Raburn said. “We’re not getting much going, especially against left-handers. Hopefully it is a fluke. A lot of us haven’t really started off the way we should. We’ve got to keep battling and grinding and sooner or later we start to turn it around.”
15. Raburn left Rogers Centre encouraged that the Indians went 3-3 on the road trip against Tampa Bay and Toronto. “I thought we played well,” he said. “We took 2 out of 3 from Tampa, they have a great pitching staff. We came in here and didn’t get blown out by any means. A couple big hits here or there, we maybe could have taken it tonight.”