Danny Salazar has been a breath of fresh air for the Cleveland Indians during his 10 start career thus far. He has been solid on a regular basis and better than solid a few times. As the American League Wildcard Playoff game approaches, the Indians should plan on having a fight on their hands if they plan to pull the win off in this one. The Tampa Bay Rays are a good team and those have given Salazar just a little more problem so far in his young career.
Headlines being what they are, they can be misleading. The idea that Salazar will force the Indians to scratch and claw out a win is kind of misleading as well if taken as a slam on the young pitcher. Every win the Indians pull out is one they had to fight for. Nothing comes easy for these guys and especially with Alex Cobb going for the Rays; this certainly will not be easy.
As good as Salazar has been, he is less effective against plus .500 teams. Also of his ten starts he has only gone past the sixth inning in one of them. Best case scenario the Tribe will have to plan on Salazar keeping them in the game through the fifth or sixth, keeping it close, then it will be up to the bullpen to allow the offense time to scratch out a few versus Cobb.
The future is impossible to know but we know this already. No matter what the outcome of the game between the Rays and Indians, it will be a hard fought victory for the team that carries on in the MLB playoffs. The Indians came on late in the season and have already surpassed expectations. If they win against Cobb with Salazar on the mound, as good as the young man is, it will be just one more achievement that they weren’t favored to achieve.