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July 12, 2013

What You Need to Know

The Indians' and Orioles' Pitching Problems

by Daniel Rathman


The Thursday Takeaway
If there is one thing that stands between the 2013 Indians and the organization’s first postseason berth since 2007, it is a lack of dependable pitching.

The Tribe entered play on Thursday ranked fifth in the majors in runs scored and sixth in True Average, a considerable improvement from last year, when Cleveland placed 22nd and 18th, respectively, in those categories. The Indians’ fielding also has been markedly better this year than it was in 2012, enough to bump their park-adjusted defensive efficiency up from 24th to 12th in the league. Unfortunately, while the pitching is on the right track—with the team’s ERA down from 4.78 to 4.38—it still ranks near the bottom of the pack (27th).

Of the teams whose playoff odds are currently above 10 percent, only the Orioles’ staff ERA (4.40) is higher than the Tribe’s. That also is true of each of their rotations: the Indians, with a 4.51 starting-pitcher ERA, were 22nd heading into play on Thursday, and the Orioles, at 4.80, were bringing up the caboose among realistic contenders at 26th.

The season-ending elbow injury suffered by Dylan Bundy, who underwent Tommy John surgery on June 27, forced Dan Duquette to look outside his organization for reinforcements and led to the acquisition of Scott Feldman. Meanwhile, Duquette’s counterpart in Cleveland, Chris Antonetti, may have found at least a partial solution within his own farm system.

Danny Salazar, a 23-year-old Dominican who racked up 100 strikeouts in 76 innings across Double-A and Triple-A earlier this year, got the call on Thursday to start the Indians’ series finale against the Blue Jays. In the Call-Up post published before the game, Jason Parks tackled the scouting side and noted that the right-hander’s future hinged on his ability to harness his secondary offerings—a slider and a changeup—and to prove the durability of his diminutive frame. Salazar took a decisive first step toward addressing the first concern in his big-league debut.

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<< Previous Article
Premium Article Raising Aces: How the ... (07/12)
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Premium Article What You Need to Know:... (07/15)
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