Francona: Danny Salazar to start Wild Card game on Wednesday

Following today’s 5-1 win in Minnesota that clinched the Indians’ first playoff berth in six years and secured the #1 Wild Card spot for them, manager Terry Francona confirmed that 23-year-old rookie Danny Salazar will start the one-game playoff on Wednesday at Progressive Field.

Salazar has started 10 games for the Indians this season, going 2-3 with a 3.12 ERA, allowing 44 hits, 15 walks, and 65 strikeouts in 52 innings pitched. For his last three starts, Salazar had his crippling pitch count removed which allowed him to go deeper into games.

With Ubaldo Jimenez throwing today, it took him out of the running for starting the game. However, it allows him to slot in for Games 1 and 5 of the Division Series, should the Indians win and advance on Wednesday. In addition, Corey Kluber would be available on more than regular rest for Wednesday as well as Zach McAllister. I also wouldn’t count out Justin Masterson piggy-backing Salazar’s effort to get to the back end of the bullpen in a tight ballgame.

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  • The_Real_Shamrock

    Kind of surprising in a way but can anyone say Jaret Wright? Reminds me of back in the day. With Salazar’s success you almost forget about Trevor Bauer.

  • nj0

    Next man up…

  • left out

    i;d rather start masterson. salazar should be on a short leash

  • ToxicToast

    Salazar is the best man for the job right now. Ubaldo just pitched, Masterson still doesn’t look like he’s 100% back, and the rest of the rotation are either tired or not quite themselves after injury and would benefit from waiting to pitch until Friday. Also, neither Tampa nor Texas have faced Salazar yet this year, which will work in our favor.

  • FearTheRoo

    Still the guy’s a rookie. I’d rather have one of our vets on short rest over a rookie anyday. Especially since this is a win or go home situation. I feel like they are overlooking the game and trying to save the rotation for the ALDS, which probably won’t happen.

  • mgbode

    Salazar has the lowest ERA of any SP. As mentioned above, neither Texas nor Tampa has seen him. He’s got a blazing fastball that he can fall back on.

    Rookies have done well in October before, so I like the idea of putting him out there. I agree that he’ll be on a short leash (he’s a short IP guy anyway), but that’s why we have Masterson.

  • JK

    I agree. If Francona says its Danny, fine by me.

  • nj0

    Overlooking the game? That is just crazy.

  • Vindictive_Pat

    This is kind of a surprising move to me. I thought we’d see Francona go with the stability of the Zach Attack rather than the electricity of Salazar. I like the kid’s mental makeup though… he does not seem to be easily phased on the mound.

  • The Swami

    Big mistake for Tito.Kaz would have been my choice.Veteran lefty.We will probably see his man crush G at Dh.Tito will screw this up! It’s one and done.

  • Vindictive_Pat

    Longo crushes lefties. .949 OPS versus LHP, .799 OPS versus RHP. Using a right-handed pitcher is also wise against Johnson, Jennings, Escobar, Fuld, and Molina. Of the Rays’ starters, only DeJesus, Zobrist, and Loney have a significant advantage against RHP over LHP. Francona is using the numbers, and in my opinion, making the right move.