Covering the Bases: Game 42
Indians 5, Tigers 3
FIRST: Chris Perez said a couple days ago that he wanted his first appearance after all the controversy he stirred up to come in a one-run save situation with Miguel Cabrera and Prince Fielder due up for the Tigers. Well, the outspoken Indians closer essentially got his wish.
Before we get to how he performed, though, it is worth noting how he was received. In his first outing since criticizing Indians fans for booing the home team and not showing up to the ballpark, Perez was welcomed with a standing ovation from those on hand at Progressive Field.
Perez was blown away.
“I’m humbled. It was great. Great to see,” Perez said. “I was surprised, for sure. I didn’t know which way it was going to go. If it would’ve gone the other way, I still would’ve done my job, tried to. But I’m thankful it went the good way. It was nice. It was really nice.”
How did CP respond? Well, with a touch of drama. He issued a one-out walk to Ramon Santiago and then gave up a single to Andy Dirks. So, with runners on the corners, up stepped Cabrera with Fielder on deck. Pere struck out Miggy and got Prince to ground out and that’s your ballgame.
Perez said tonight it was fun to pitch in Cleveland.
“It was fun tonight. It’s fun to win anyways,” Perez said. “I said a lot of stuff the last couple days. I meant every word of it. Sometimes it’s not fun playing anywhere. Even if you have 40,000 fans it can be not fun if you’re struggling. So it’s just what it was then. I’m here. I’m here for the long haul. I know the fans are going to come back out — I know that. It’s just at that point in time I was frustrated and I vented.
“Unfortunately, this is the only media I get, so you guys have to put up with it. But the fans have always been good to me for the most part. I’ve gotten a lot of things the last couple of days, fans saying it’s not all of us, just a few of us. I understand that. Our season-ticket holders are really [great]. I mean, John Adams is the best fan in baseball. He comes out here every single game and pounds that drum. So I know our fans are faithful and diehards. It’s just maybe they need a little kick in the butt sometimes.”
SECOND: Ubaldo Jimenez gave the Indians this line: six innings, five hits, three runs, six walks, two strikeouts, two wild pitches, one home run, 99 pitches, 58 strikes. It wasn’t pretty, but other than a three-run homer to Alex Avila in the second inning, The Big U dodged all the traffic he put on the basepaths. Look, Jimenez is going to issue his walks. Right now, what’s important is what he does around those free passes. Against Detroit, Ubaldo pitched admirably despite himself. The Indians will take it.
THIRD: Cleveland stole three bases in the win, doing what it could to manufacture some runs. Two of those stolen bases turned into runs later in the inning. In a follow-up to one of the questions I answered in Monday’s Inbox on Indians.com, the Indians have now turned 14 of their 30 (46.7%) stolen bases into runs this season. Don’t ask me where that ranks in the league. All I know right now is that the Tribe has done a decent job of taking advantage of their stolen bases. And they’ve already swiped more than I would’ve anticipated at this point in the season.
HOME: You know I love my “meaningless” statistical accomplishments. Say what you will about Vinnie Pestano’s strikeout streak, but what the reliever has going on right now for the Tribe is something unmatched in the team’s long storied history. With his strikeout of Avila in the eighth inning, Pestano extended his strikeout streak to 22 games (at least one strikeout in each appearance). Dating back to 1918, that is now the longest such streak by an Indians reliever.
In the Majors (also dating back to 1918), there have only been 40 sstrikeout streaks of at least 22 games (including Pestano’s current run). Only five pitchers, including Pestano have started a season with a strikeout streak of at least 20 games, which is what he is at for 2012. For those curious, the MLB record since 1918 for a reliever is 39 games by Bruce Sutter for the Cubs in 1977. The AL record since 1918 for a reliever is 32 games by Jeff Montgomery for the Royalsin 1989.
Tigers (20-22) at Indians (24-18)
at 7:05 p.m. ET on Wednesday at Progressive Field