Chris Perez has been terrible since August 1, posting a 5.95 ERA in 20 innings while allowing opponents to hit .321 with six homers and a 1.006 OPS. That includes serving up two homers and blowing a save in his most recent appearance Tuesday, but the Indians are sticking with Perez as closer as they near the playoffs.
Here’s what manager Terry Francona told Dennis Manoloff of the Cleveland Plain Dealer when asked about Perez’s status:
Can you imagine if, every time somebody gave up a homer, we went to somebody else? If we just automatically went to somebody else, we wouldn’t have a team. I wouldn’t want to play for that guy. If there’s ever a situation where I think we can do better, I will certainly do that. But you can’t just be reactionary as a manager or you’ll have turmoil in that clubhouse. If you react to one game or an inning, you can upset a lot of what’s so good in there.
Which is fine and reasonable, except no one was asking about Perez’s status because he had one bad game or served up one homer, they were asking because he’s been awful for two months now leading directly into the playoffs.
The Braves and Marlins have some bad blood, especially concerning Ronald Acuña Jr. Around this time last year, José Ureña intentionally threw at Acuña in the first at-bat of a game, leading to a benches-clearing incident. Acuña was hit on the elbow and exited the game but was ultimately fine. Acuña’s crime? Just being good at baseball. At the time, he had homered in five consecutive games, including three games against the Marlins.
In 2019, the first-place Braves and last-place Marlins have mostly minded their own business. The Marlins, however, can certainly keep a grudge it appears. With his first pitch in the bottom of the first inning Tuesday night in Atlanta, Marlins starter Elieser Hernández hit Acuña in the hip.
Home plate umpire Alan Porter issued warnings to both dugouts. Braves manager Brian Snitker wasn’t happy about his side having received a warning for no reason, and was ejected by first base umpire Mark Wegner. Hernández would hit Adeiny Hechavarría with a pitch in the fourth inning — seemingly unintentionally — and was not ejected. Other than that, there were no more incidents and cooler heads prevailed.
Acuña finished 1-for-4 in the Braves’ 5-1 win. Freddie Freeman hit two home runs and knocked in four runs.