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CLE@CWS: Salazar whiffs 10 in just 3 2/3 innings

On Thursday, the Tigers will face likely the hardest-throwing starter they have seen so far this season in the Indians' Danny Salazar.

If the Tigers' performance against the other flamethrower they've gone up against is any indication, it could be a long day for the Detroit bats.

Last Friday in San Diego, Andrew Cashner silenced the Tigers, allowing only one hit in a shutout. Cashner struck out 11 in the 6-0 Padres win.

"If you think you have a player that has a little bit of trouble catching up to velocity in the zone, you might rest him," Tigers manager Brad Ausmus said of his strategy in constructing a lineup against Salazar. "But you can't rest everybody."

Cashner's fastball topped out at about 98 mph in that game, whereas Salazar averaged 96 mph on his heater last season. After allowing two runs in his first start of the season against Minnesota, Salazar was roughed up by the White Sox last week for five runs in 3 2/3 innings.

Last year, Salazar's rookie season, was extremely promising. He struck out 65 batters in 52 innings on his way to a 3.12 ERA.

"I think we have to remember that he's got like 10 Major League starts. It's easy to forget, because he had such a meteoric rise and he pitched in the playoff game," said Indians manager Terry Francona. "He's still a young pitcher that's learning, but there's a lot to like. He embraces challenges, which we really like. Sometimes, in an imperfect world, getting guys to just enjoy or embrace the challenge, if they have the talent we think they do, they'll be OK."

Fortunately for Detroit, in the event that the offense can't get going, it will be ace Justin Verlander on the mound to keep the Indians' bats in check. In five starts against Cleveland last season, Verlander went 3-1 with 3.38 ERA.

"They kind of beat us up a little bit last year," Francona said, referring to the Tigers' 15-4 record against the Indians in 2013. "For us to get where we want to go, certainly beating them would help. You've got to beat everybody, but they kind of had their way with us last year. They did what good teams do. They beat you up sometimes. They win some close ones. And in the other games, they found a way to win those, too. That's what a good team does."

Worth noting
• Michael Bourn made his season debut for the Indians on Wednesday night after missing the first 13 games with a strained left hamstring. He went 0-for-4 with two strikeouts, a walk and a run scored.

• Since the start of the 2009 season, the Indians are 12-34 at Comerica Park after their 3-2 win Wednesday.

• Rajai Davis had his seven-game hitting streak snapped Wednesday. In the eighth inning, he reached base when Cleveland second baseman Jason Kipnis dropped a fly ball in shallow right field, but the official scorer determined it was an error.

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