I wrote yesterday afternoon about how the Indians were sticking with Chris Perez as closer despite his struggles over the past two months. And then last night I went to the Twins-Indians game at Target Field and watched as Cleveland manager Terry Francona brought Perez into a 6-1 game in the ninth inning to get him some work following a blown save earlier this week.
I turned to the person next to me and predicted “Perez is definitely going to make this very interesting.” I also tried to get them to give me 20-to-1 odds on the Twins winning the game despite being down five runs with three outs to go, but apparently not everyone will gamble on everything.
Anyway, sure enough Perez coughed up four runs on four hits, including a homer, before being yanked with one out left to get and the gap closed to 6-5. Joe Smith came in and closed out the win, but Perez saw his ERA balloon to 4.33 and he’s now allowed 17 runs in 20.1 innings since August 1. Cleveland looks headed to the playoffs, but it’s hard to imagine the Indians making a run unless Perez turns things around or Francona changes his mind about the ninth inning.
Per The Athletic’s Matt Gelb, Phillies starter Zack Wheeler will miss at least two starts when his wife goes into labor and gives birth to their first child, expected to be later this month. Wheeler, in fact, is not sure if he will return to play at all once their child is born.
Wheeler said, “We just have to see how things are here at the field and at the stadium. I’m happy with what I see so far. But things could change, especially once our baby’s born. I always think about what’s going on around me. Is it safe? Is it OK? Literally every single day. I have to just ask myself that. I’m going to continue to keep asking myself that every day.”
Wheeler, 30, inked a five-year, $118 million contract with the Phillies in December. He is slated for the No. 2 spot in the rotation behind Aaron Nola. Last season, with the Mets, Wheeler posted a 3.96 ERA with 195 strikeouts and 50 walks over 195 1/3 innings.
The No. 5 spot in the Phillies’ rotation is currently up for grabs between Nick Pivetta, Vince Velasquez, Ranger Suárez, and prospect Spencer Howard. One of the remaining three could fill in for Wheeler when he needs time off, temporarily or otherwise.