CLEVELAND -- Indians starter Danny Salazar went into Saturday's 5-2 loss to the Royals needing a strong start, but the right-hander's early struggles continued in taking his fifth loss of the season.Although Salazar battled his way through traffic over his 5 1/3 innings and kept the Indians within striking distance,
CLEVELAND -- Indians starter Danny Salazar went into Saturday's 5-2 loss to the Royals needing a strong start, but the right-hander's early struggles continued in taking his fifth loss of the season.
Although Salazar battled his way through traffic over his 5 1/3 innings and kept the Indians within striking distance, the Royals scored four runs (three earned) on six hits. Salazar threw 102 pitches, 65 for strikes, and he issued a season-high five walks.
"He had five walks," manager Terry Francona said. "If you look at his strikes to balls, it looks pretty good. I still think he didn't command the ball where he wanted to and there's walks mixed in that really hurt, like the inning when he came out. We got out of innings, there was traffic the whole time. We'll kind of put our heads together and see what's the next best step for him because I think he's probably searching a little bit, too."
Coming into the game, Salazar had allowed 11 of his 30 runs in the first inning. As has been the theme for him this season, Salazar again found himself in trouble early, loading the bases with none out. However, Salazar was able work out of the jam only allowing one run -- a sacrifice fly by Salvador Perez -- and striking out two on 33 pitches.
"That was huge," Francona said. "When you come out of the first inning 1-1, after the way the game started, you feel pretty good about it."
Even though Salazar worked four scoreless innings from the second to the fifth, he once again ran into some traffic. He allowed a leadoff double to Jorge Bonifacio and then issued back-to-back walks before being lifted from the game. All three Royals' runners came around to score against relievers Boone Logan and Nicholas Goody, and all runs were charged to Salazar.
Salazar said his struggles are a result of rushing his delivery.
"That's something that I've been working on, staying calm on the mound, trying to take my time and make my pitches," Salazar said. "I come down and make one pitch good, and then the next one I'm rushing again. That's what's happening right now. But I'm getting there. I'm going to keep working."
In 52 1/3 innings, Salazar has allowed 32 earned runs on 55 hits with 28 walks with an ERA of 5.50. Salazar said that he does not plan on moving to the bullpen to work through his struggles.
"I mean, that's not in my plans," he said. "But I have no choice. I'd have to do it."
"I think we want to sit down and talk through things because we want to help," Francona said. "We want to help him, we want to help our team."
William Kosileski is a reporter for MLB.com based in Cleveland.