Stephanie Storm’s final thoughts on the Indians 8-3 loss at the Cincinnati Reds Great American BallPark Wednesday.
1) Wednesday brought with it another Indians loss. Another abbreviated outing by an Indians pitcher. Another starter who was hurt by the long ball, then sent to the minors after the game.
A day after Josh Tomlin got behind early on a three-run home run, burned by a light-hitting Reds bottom-of-the-order hitter, Wednesday’s start by Danny Salazar brought with it much of the same.
2) Salazar dished up a two-out, three-run home run in the second inning to shortstop Zack Cozart – the Reds eighth hitter batting in front of pitcher Mat Latos. Two innings later, Salazar was similarly bitten again by the long ball - this time giving up a two-run shot to No. seven hitter Kristopher Negron before leaving the game after the four-inning outing after dishing up five runs.
3) After the game, Salazar was optioned to Triple-A Columbus. After the bullpen combined to give the team 10 innings over the last two days, manager Terry Francona said reliever C.C. Lee would be called up to give the ‘pen added depth.
The addition of Lee, as well as two upcoming off days, provides Salazar the opportunity to get some extra rest – whether he wants it or not. Thanks to the off days, he might not be needed again until Aug. 17. Yet, Salazar said after the game he didn’t think he needed to take it easy.
4) “I feel fine,” he said, sounding that way, just not in his usual happy-go-lucky manner. “But, if they want me to (take a step back), I’ll take it. They made the decision. So, I have to do it.”
5) With the Clippers, Salazar will pitch Tuesday on a shorter pitch limit, in an effort to keep his arm, sharp, but not taxed. He’ll also have an added off day before returning to the big leagues.
“We’re just moving him back for four or five days,” Francona said. “We’re trying to mix and cover a lot of things…we're trying to cover health, production in the bullpen and winning - hopefully we’ll manage all three.”
6) However, here’s the rub: With Tomlin and Salazar back in the minors – regardless of how temporary - the Indians are short another starting pitcher. Those two, in addition to recently traded Justin Masterson, give the Tribe’s starting rotation just two pitchers the team can count on – ace Corey Kluber and Trevor Bauer.
7) One option kicked around before Salazar’s crash and burn was starter-turned-reliever Carlos Carrasco coming back into the rotation. That decision will have to be made soon enough, as the club needs a starter Sunday in New York.
8) Through out the day, I coudn't keep myself from thinking how good veteran left-hander Scott Kazmir and/or right-hander Aaron Harang would look on this staff right about now. keeping a veteran in the rotation would be a god send these days.