August 26, 2014

Kluber Spoils Afternoon For Sox, Perez Spoils Win With Postgame Comments

Poor Corey Kluber. The Indians rookie right-hander gave his signature performance yesterday in a big spot and all people want to talk about this morning are the comments made by closer Chris Perez.

Playing spoiler is something that nobody wants to be in position to do, but the Indians are in that spot. Over the first two games in this series against the Chicago White Sox, you can argue that the Indians have completely outplayed the team currently occupying first place in the AL Central. They have looked like quitters at times over the last two months, but something has gotten into them this week.

A few weeks back, the White Sox organization decided to move up the time of the game to 1:10 local in observance of the Jewish holiday Yom Kippur. It was quite a coincidence that they now have Kevin Youkilis on their team, who is Jewish. Youk had said that had it been a night game, he would not have played. In the end, the decision didn’t help as the Sox came out completely asleep.

Kluber is not exactly the second coming of Roger Clemens and for the most part, hasn’t really done much to impress in his 11 starts since taking a spot in the rotation. In fact, the Tribe lost nine of his first 10 starts.

However yesterday, the righty had the Sox completely baffled. Kluber had the longest outing of his short career, seven innings. Other than the two solo homers to A.J. Pierzynski and Dayan Viciedo in the fifth, The Sox couldn’t touch the kid.

“I’ve seen him pitch like that a bunch of time this year in Columbus,” said Russ Canzler. “where he just kind of shuts teams down and uses all his pitches for strikes. It seemed like that’s what he was doing today.

Canzler’s solo homer in the second set up Kluber to pitch with a lead. A big hustle play on a double play ball by Thomas Neal added another run, which came in front of two-out RBI singles by Shin-Soo Choo and Ezequiel Carrera in the fourth.

After seven string innings where he allowed just four hits, Kluber gave way to Vinnie Pestano. You remember a day earlier, Vinnie gave up a big three-run homer to Adam Dunn which propelled Chicago to a 5-4 win. He would get another crack at Dunn in a similar spot.

Youkilis came through with a two-out single in the eighth which brought the Dunn/Pestano showdown back for round two. This time, Vinnie didn’t flinch and struck Dunn out.

Said closer Chris Perez regarding Pestano:  “I know he had a really bad taste in his mouth last night. As a reliever, the good ones, that’s what you want, to come back the next day and get the same guys out. He did that.”

Rage ended up getting the Sox in the ninth, but it wasn’t without a high-wire act. Leading 4-2, All-time Tribe killer Paul Konerko took Perez’s first pitch over the wall in left field to bring the Sox to within one. In all of my years watching the Indians, I can’t think of a player who has worn out the Indians the way Konerko has. After recording two outs, Perez then walked pinch hitter Dan Johnson and Alexi Ramirez before getting Gordon Beckham to ground out.

The Tribe had the win and the Sox loss moved them into a first place tie with the Tigers, who won last night against the Royals. After the  save, you could see in Perez’s face that he wasn’t all that excited. His media session in the locker room certainly didn’t dispute my theory.

Here is the back and forth courtesy of Paul Hoynes of the PD:

Reporter: How did it feel to play the spoiler today?

Perez: “I could care less. I’d rather be playing for something.”

Reporter: How have you managed to stay sharp between save opportunities?

Perez: “I’ve had a lot of practice this year.”

Reporter: Are you starting to think about next year and what you can build on?

Perez: “I’m not.”

Reporter: What’s been your routine because you wouldn’t expect to go six, seven or eight games between save opportunities?

Perez: “Have you watched us this year? We haven’t been in seven or eight games in a row.”

Reporter: What do you think the team has learned from this year?

Perez: “No comment. I have opinions, but I’m not going to say them right now.”

As Perez walked away from reporters, he said, “It will be a fun last couple of days of the season when I’m allowed to talk again.”

I’ve been a Perez supporter with all of the things that he has said this season. But at this point, does he need to continue this charade? Can he just let it go, keep his mouth shut and finish the season? I know he is trying to talk himself right out of town, but his mouth continues to lower his trade value. I mean, who doesn’t know that the Indians will be trying to peddle him this winter? It is a tired act. You made your point Chris, now go way.

(AP Photo/John Smierciak)

  • MrCleaveland

    The next time Perez meets the press, maybe he should just hold his breath until he turns blue. That’ll show everybody.

  • The_Real_Shamrock

    It’s almost over and I can’t wait!

  • mgbode

    at this point, i’d tell Perez that if he wants to leave he needs to be quiet so that he doesn’t hurt his value.

    if he isn’t quiet, then put him at the plate as a pinch-hitter late in a ballgame. it’s not like our division opponents won’t know what to do with that situation (or be happy to do it).

  • mgbode

    as far as Kluber, I still don’t see him being any part of the rotation in 2013. he really isn’t even a guy that you want as a streaming SP5 due to injury.

  • Julie

    I’ve never gotten why Clevelanders support Perez. He’s a huge jerk with a bad temper. At some point, you have to decide whether it’s worth it to have him around.

  • TNB

    Perez has almost always brought up legitimate points, and all the locals can do is sit there with their arms folded and cry about his ‘attitude’ saying things like ‘SHUT UP AND PLAY’. Except, Perez was literally probably the only true consistent performer on this years team that actually met the high expectations he had.

    Id argue if anyone had room to talk, it’d be him.

  • deesh

    while your assessment of the situation is true, at a certain point he needs to show he’s a professional and that he should try to be supportive of the team around him, not so utterly dismissive of everyone around him except himself. It’s reached a point where it’s selfish and childish.

  • JK

    So.. Wait. He’s not allowed to talk….?

  • https://twitter.com/jimkanicki jimkanicki

    he’s ‘allowed’ to be the biggest asshole in northeast ohio.
    the question is and has been should he continue to be.

  • MrCleaveland

    Whoa! Big Jim comin’ strong!

  • TNB

    Why should he not be allowed to answer questions that people ask him honestly? He plays for a team where fans complain about literally everything, including things like having fireworks and creating an atmosphere for more casual fans and families. He plays for a team that nobody wanted to support when they were winning and everyone wanted to sit back and be smug with their ‘I told you so’s when the team eventually melted down.

    Perez didn’t ‘Spoil’ a win tonight, he answered questions honestly. Those answers hardly even make one turn their head. The only way that spoils a win is if someone has such tunnelvision that they cant instead focus on the win.