Indians closer Chris Perez left today’s game against the Red Sox due to shoulder pain. The right-hander recorded only two outs but was on the hook for the four runs the Red Sox scored in the bottom half of the ninth inning for the walk-off 6-5 victory. Perez allowed two hits (a David Ortiz double and a Stephen Drew single) and walked three.
Joe Smith came on in relief of Perez but promptly allowed a walk-off two-run double to Jacoby Ellsbury. Despite the poor result, Smith is likely the club’s answer for an interim closer. In another time, it would have been Vinnie Pestano, but he has not had a good 2013 season thanks in part to a stark decline in velocity.
The Cubs’ bullpen got into trouble in the ninth inning on Tuesday afternoon during the first game of a doubleheader. Justin Wilson started the inning with the Cubs leading 3-2, normally a situation for closer Brandon Morrow. Wilson issued a leadoff walk to Austin Barnes, then gave up a single to Justin Turner. Morrow wasn’t warming up, curiously. Wilson ended up giving up a go-ahead two-run double to pinch-hitter Kyle Farmer and the Cubs went on to lose 4-3.
We now know why Morrow wasn’t available. He says his back tightened up taking off his pants early Monday morning, MLB.com’s Carrie Muskat reports. Morrow said, “It’s frustrating any time you can’t get out there, especially when you can’t go for something as stupid as taking your pants off.”
Morrow, 33, has been terrific in the closer’s role this season for the Cubs. He owns a 1.59 ERA with a 25/9 K/BB ratio in 22 2/3 innings. He is also not available for the back end of Tuesday’s doubleheader, but it sounds like he won’t need to go on the disabled list.