Terry Francona has removed Chris Perez from the closer’s role

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Indians closer Chris Perez has allowed a total of six runs in his last two appearances and has a 7.52 ERA since the start of August. As a result, manager Terry Francona has removed him from the closer’s role, reports WTAM’s Nick Camino.

On the season, Perez has a career-worst 4.33 ERA in 54 innings, converting 25 of 30 save opportunities.

ESPN’s Buster Olney speculates that Joe Smith or Justin Masterson could be used as the team’s closer going forward. Winners of seven in a row and 12 of their last 14, the Indians are clutching onto a one-game lead over the Rangers for the second AL Wild Card with three games remaining. They trail the Rays for the first Wild Card spot by one game.

Clayton Kershaw struggles with control, walks six Marlins

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Dodgers ace Clayton Kershaw entered Wednesday night’s start against the Marlins without having issued a walk in his previous three starts. In fact, his last walk came on April 3 when he issued a free pass to Paul Goldschmidt with the bases empty and two outs in the bottom of the first inning. All told, Kershaw was on a streak of 26 walk-less innings before he took the mound at home to take on the Marlins.

Kershaw started off Wednesday in character, striking out the side in the first inning. He issued a walk in a tough second inning, but escaped without allowing a run. Kershaw walked two more in the third and again danced out of danger. In the fourth, Kershaw walked Lewis Brinson to load the bases with no outs and — you guessed it — didn’t end up allowing a run. His errant control finally came back to bite him in the fifth when Kershaw issued back-to-back two-out walks, then served up a three-run home run to Miguel Rojas down the left field line. His night was done when he completed the inning. Five innings, three runs, five hits, six walks, seven strikeouts, 112 pitches.

The six walks Kershaw issued over five innings marked his first six-walk outing since April 7, 2010 when he issued six free passes to the Pirates in 4 2/3 innings. The only other time he walked as many was on August 3, 2009 against the Brewers in a four-plus inning outing. Kershaw hasn’t even walked five batters in an outing recently — the last time was September 23, 2012 against the Reds.