Smoke Signals: Splitting Splits and Salazar Starting Slow

Cleveland (92.3 the Fan) – The Indians were bereft of offense at times during their nine game road trip, in which they finished 4-5.

Seven of the Tribe’s 26 runs on the road trip came in the final game, and six of those came by way of two players known more to hit their opposite handedness.

Jason Kipnis came into the game 3-for-26 on the season against left-handed pitchers compared to 6-for-32 against righties, with a .030 difference in his career between righties and lefties.

On Wednesday, Kipnis provided the Indians with their first three runs, coming on a 2 RBI double in the first, and an RBI single in the 3rd. Both came off of left-hander Francisco Liriano, and were his only hits on the night.

He also came into the game hitless in his last 13 plate appearances dating back to May 6.

“They were tremendous,” Manager Terry Francona said. “He’s one of the best I’ve ever seen in that situation, where it is first and second, you can bunt, they bring the infield in. He squares around, but then he feels like he’s in a situation where he can do (some damage). He took two good swings, both times.”

Brandon Guyer, a platoon outfielder who specializes in hitting lefties like Liriano, popped out against the Southpaw. When Liriano was knocked out of the game by Jose Ramirez’s RBI single in the 3rd, Guyer racked what was thought to be a game-breaking 3-run double off of Dominic Leone, a right-hander.

Guyer entered the night 0-for-5 against righties in 2017, and a .234 hitter against righties in his career. He splits .279/.377/.454 against lefties in his career.

Frustrating firsts

The saga of 1st-Inning Danny continues.

Danny Salazar again struggled in the first frame, surrendering a 2-0 lead about as quickly as possible, allowing two base-runners and a home run.

The 2016 All-Star has now allowed 11 of his 21 earned runs in the first inning. He was eventually lifted after 2 2/3 innings.

“It felt like balls were cutting that he wasn’t trying to cut,” Francona said. “Scattering, especially his fastball.”

In April, Francona was asked about Salazar’s struggles out of the gate, and responded by saying that pitching coach Mickey Calloway had begun to try and shorten the righty’s pre-game warmup. Following his start that day, Salazar said nothing had changed.

“I think a lot of it is command,” Francona added. “When you’re not throwing it where you want to, or you’re deep counts, you’ve got a chance to not just give up hits but give up damage.”

Ailing Indians

Before the game had even reached the 4th inning, two Indians had already left the game.

Abraham Almonte left after flying out in his only at-bat, doubling over in shoulder pain following his swing. He was immediately replaced defensively by Michael Martinez, removed with a right shoulder injury.

Francona called the injury a strained shoulder that came on the swing, he is day-to-day.

Catcher Yan Gomes was pulled in the bottom of the 3rd with an undisclosed injury, as he was spelled by Roberto Perez. Gomes was 1-for-2 with a double in the team’s 5-run 3rd.

More from Alex Hooper | 92.3 The Fan
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