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Second Thoughts Game #49: Red Sox 6, Indians 5

Perez blows a three-run lead in the ninth to lose the series against Boston

Second Thoughts Game #49: Red Sox 6, Indians 5
May 26, 2013
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Player of the Game: Jacoby Ellsbury (2-for-5 with 2 RBI and the game winning RBI double)

The Leadoff

Where do I even begin?

For eight innings, the Indians looked as though they could escape Boston with a series split.

Then, the top of the ninth inning came along as did closer Chris Perez. It wasn’t the long ball that hurt Pure Rage on Sunday, but rather the strike zone. Perez just couldn’t find any of the four corners of the strike zone, blowing both the save and the game for Cleveland. The Red Sox scored four runs off the closer in the inning, in route to a devastating 6-5 loss for the Tribe. The loss just came 24 hours after Vinnie Pestano blew the lead for the team in the eighth inning on Saturday afternoon.

With the loss, the Indians lose three out of four in the series and are now just 1-6 against Boston this season.

Firestarter? You bet.

I don’t think there are enough words that can describe the ninth inning and the Tribe loss on Sunday to Boston.

If I had to pick just one word, I would simply say inexcusable.  

It took three walks, a double, single, and two groundouts for Indians manager Terry Francona or the team for that matter to see that something was wrong with Perez? Inexcusable. I like many Tribe fans sensed something was wrong with the closer from the very first pitch he threw in the inning and that he needed to be lifted out of the game. Why on earth was Perez even allowed in the game if something was wrong with him?

There’s no question about it, Perez lived up to his nickname “Pure Rage” on Sunday, as he left fans in total pure rage following his meltdown.

Let’s all be thankful Perez deleted his Twitter account last week.

More K’s for Kluber

For the eight innings prior to the Perez meltdown, there was still some good to take out of Sunday’s devastating loss.

Tribe starter Corey Kluber (3-3, 4.57 ERA) should’ve easily notched his fourth win in the game as the right-hander dominated Red Sox hitters for 6 2/3 innings. He would give up just one run on three hits, walk one, and strikeout a career-high 10 Boston hitters.

Over his last three starts, Kluber is now 1-1 with a 3.32 ERA in 19 innings, walking one and striking out 23. I think it’s safe to say the 27-year old right-hander is here to stay for a while.

Staying consistent at the Top

It was the top of the Indians lineup that would do the most damage against Red Sox starter Felix Doubront and Boston pitching on Sunday. Michael Bourn, Jason Kipnis, Asdrubal Cabrera and Nick Swisher went a combined 6-for-14 (.429) with a double, two homers and three RBI.

Bourn continues to show that he’s the best leadoff hitter in the game, while Cabrera continues to rake as well, extending his hitting streak to six straight games. Kipnis connected on a solo homer in the fifth before Swisher went over the Green Monster in the sixth on a solo blast of his own. The Indians second baseman moves into a second place tie with catcher Carlos Santana with eight homers while Swisher is just one short having belted seven long balls this season.

Bourn to Run

I don’t know about you, but I really like the speed the Indians have up and down the lineup. That speed was on full display again on Sunday as the Tribe added another two stolen bases to improve their season total to 34. As a team, Cleveland is currently third this season in swiping bags, trailing just the Baltimore Orioles and Kansas City Royals in the American League.

Closing Time

With the loss, Cleveland falls back to 1.5 games in back of the Detroit Tigers for first place in the A.L. Central Division with a record of 27-22. 

After starting the season with a record of 19-3 when scoring the game’s first run, the Tribe is now 1-3 in the last four games they have put runs on the board first.

Up next for the Indians: The Battle of Ohio, as the Tribe takes on the Cincinnati Reds at Great American Ballpark Monday afternoon. Ubaldo Jimenez (3-3, 6.04 ERA) will toe the rubber for the Wahoo’s against Reds right-hander Mike Leake (4-2, 3.25 ERA). Jimenez is 3-0 with a 3.09 ERA in his career against Cincinnati. Cleveland split the series 3-3 against their National League rivals in 2012.

Follow Jim on Twitter @JBirdman27 or he can be reached via email at

User Comments

May 27, 2013 - 2:00 PM EDT
This is a critical time. The Reds are playing great ball and the Indians have to be a little thunderstruck coming out of Fenway. I think we need to aggressive both in the game and in the front office. With Masterson, Mcallister and Kluber all putting up good starts and Kazmir and Jiminez sneaking past the graveyard in most of their starts so far, what about bringing up Carrasco and having him work out of the pen? It might be a good segway for him to get back in good graces. He's got the stuff and he's young enough to roll with it, me thinks. I don't know if they DL'd Pestano yet, but they need to. A pennant race is no place to do rehab.
May 27, 2013 - 11:44 AM EDT
In this case I think the issue is more with Indians than Perez. They had to be aware that he's dealing with something, since he couldn't even go in that game a few weeks back and he had the known injury in spring training. And he hasn't looked right all year. I commented that morning that Perez was just as concerning as Pestano, so just as a fan just watching Perez I thought he was injured. The training staff and Francona had to be aware.
May 27, 2013 - 11:30 AM EDT
I agree his performance hurt the team, that's without question. And I think it's notable that Perez has been trying to pitch through an obvious injury. But I respectfully disagree with the notion of being angry at Perez for trying to do what he has done so effectively over recent yrs.
Perez is a tight rope walker in close situations, if anything his leash was too long. Particularly, when there was an early indication something had gone array. I agree players have to alert coaches of their health, but ultimately the responsibility falls on the coaching staff to 'KNOW' their players.
May 27, 2013 - 11:18 AM EDT
Yep, way too many times a pitcher tries to pitch through it....a few times it can work, but often times it is something that you just can't do as it leads to something else. You HAVE to tell your medical staff as they will help you pitch through it....if you are not letting the training staff know and trying to hide it and pitch through it, many more times than not you are hurting the team.
May 27, 2013 - 11:16 AM EDT
Worst back to back late inning gag job I've seen in Cleveland in 40 years of fanlife. To characterize it as a sudden surprise is wrong. Both Pestano and Perez have been in decline in velocity and command since second half last year. I cringed every time they took the mound this year, waiting for the inevitable and in came 5/26 and 5/27 in Fenway Park. Anyone could see this year Pestano and Perez had nothing- most importantly the opposing teams. I know Francona is a players guy and he is loyal to a fault- that's why he was successful in Boston, it's also why he lost his job in the end. How about being loyal to your 9 players who battled their balls off for 8 innings on both sides of the ball to take a "comfortable" lead into the 8th inning against a good team in a hostile park? Don't they deserve their skipper putting a pitcher out there who is going to throw a couple of strikes and get a couple of outs and close the win? This is an inflection point for Francona and the Indians w the first 50 games in the books. It's obvious this team has some special qualities and is capable of competing at a high level this year. They're going to have to reconfigure the bullpen without Pestano and Perez and I believe they have the pieces. Shaw is better than Perez and Allen is better than Pestano and they can both pitch 2-3 innings if necessary. They're going to have to bring somebody else up - maybe Langwell. I look at this with a sense of relief actually, the sense of doom when Pestano and Perez came into ball games has been lifted. This is an opportunity for the organization to move forward. I like Chris and Vinny, wish them Godspeed. And Go Tribe!
May 27, 2013 - 11:15 AM EDT
I have seen this before far too many times. A ballplayer plays with an injury because it is a the macho thing to do. What he does is cost the team wins because of his poor performance.
May 27, 2013 - 10:43 AM EDT
there is no reason to respect a guy trying to pitch through an obvious injury. It's stupid. cost us the game and may have hurt him even more in the long run.

he's a good and by no means great closer. closers are here and gone. my lord jason grilli, remember him? now a stud closer with pitt? how long will that last?

been saying it for 2 yrs. perez does not have any pitch you would say is a great out pitch. avg fastball and no great cutter. his fastball tops at 93-94 which is nothing great. and he's not a big man at all to be trying to blow people away with 93 mph fastballs. bound to break down.

having said that, I hope he's not hurt real bad as we are better with him.

need vinny to be ok too, or we may be in trouble.
May 27, 2013 - 8:34 AM EDT
I seldom disagree, but this is one of those times.

"Fans in a pure rage," clearly a play on words. Nevertheless, the indication (angry with him???) is simply ridiculous. I have been one Perez harshest critics and I am a fan. I beat the drums all offseason to trade the guy. He's the Tribes closer. Simply put, he's been a very effective one - he has an AllStar track record. He's obviously, working through injury. But that seems to come to an end as he unraveled Sunday afternoon. Should he have been pulled absolutely. But I respect the fact the guy is trying to pitch through an obvious injury. As for those that harassed Perez on twitter - classless, ridiculous and obviously fair weather fans. His outspokenness obviously comes into play for some but the guy has been quiet this season, deleting the twitter account was the right move. I would hope tribe fans would do the same.

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