Indians continue playoff fight as Salazar gets start in series finale
A pair of strong pitching performances have helped the Cleveland Indians bounce back from a rough start to their final road trip of the regular season.
Danny Salazar now looks to avoid a third straight rough outing while helping the Indians end Scott Feldman’s run of home success for the Houston Astros on Thursday night.
Cleveland (78-73) snapped a four-game skid Tuesday when Corey Kluber pitched seven strong innings during a 4-2 victory over Houston. One night later, Carlos Carrasco allowed two infield hits to Jose Altuve and struck out a career-high 12 in a 2-0 victory.
"It felt great," Carrasco said.
Five games back of the AL’s second wild-card spot, the Indians continue to fight and will hand the ball to Salazar (6-7, 4.22).
The right-hander allowed an earned run, three hits and struck out seven in six innings while not factoring in the decision of a 3-2 win over Houston on Aug. 23. He followed that effort with 14 scoreless innings over his next two outings, highlighted by striking out nine during an eight-hitter in a 7-0 victory over Detroit on Sept. 3.
Since then, however, Salazar has allowed nine runs in 10 1-3 innings while going 0-1 in two starts. He gave up three of those runs over 5 2-3 while not factoring in the decision of a 5-4 defeat to the Tigers on Saturday.
Teammate Yan Gomes went 2 for 4 Wednesday and has two RBIs for a second straight game. He is batting .397 with 11 RBIs in his last 17 road contests.
Hoping to take this four-game series and improve to 3-4 on the 10-game trip, the Indians could face a stiff test versus Feldman (8-11, 3.95 ERA).
Since giving up seven runs in 5 1-3 innings of an 8-3 home loss to Boston on July 11, Feldman has yielded eight over 38 1-3 innings to go 3-1 in his next five outings at Minute Maid Park. In his most recent outing there Aug. 30, the right-hander tossed a three-hitter during a 2-0 win over Texas.
Feldman has since posted a 2.51 ERA while going 0-1 in two starts. He allowed two solo homers to Mike Trout over six innings in Saturday’s 5-2 loss to the Los Angeles Angels.
"I probably didn’t feel as good as I did the past few games, but you’re not always going to feel great out there," Feldman, who is 2-2 with a 2.19 ERA in his last five overall, told MLB’s official website.
He’s 2-2 with a 3.60 ERA as a starter against the Indians, but has not faced them since 2012 while with the Rangers.
Altuve recorded one of his major league-high 213 hits in three at-bats versus Salazar this season. That total ties him with Boston’s Dustin Pedroia from 2008 for the most hits by a second baseman since 1974.
Altuve is 15 for 30 in the last seven games overall and 11 for 19 in his last five against the Indians at Minute Maid Park.