Perez not going to panic - Cleveland 19 News Cleveland, OH

Perez not going to panic

Cleveland (WOIO) - Jose Mesa. Bob Wickman. Joe Borowski. Now Chris Perez. Indians closers are not for the faint of heart, but before Tribe fans run Perez out of town, and after Monday's matinee, believe me, they're trying, they should revisit the numbers. 75 saves the past two seasons. 6 more this year. And a confidence and swagger that allows him to take the mound tomorrow, without a care about yesterday.

The critics will still argue that something's amiss. While Perez has blown only two save opportunities this season, he's given up 4 home runs in 16 innings. Some of these he can explain away, including the one to Raul Ibanez on Saturday, when the Indians had a two-run lead in the 9th. And some of these he can't, like the one to Justin Smoak that immediately followed, to tie it. And, like the one to Endy Chavez in the 9th on Monday, that temporarily gave Seattle the lead.

Perez insists, passionately, that nothing's wrong health-wise. But his past two outings are cause for concern. Enough concern to replace him as the closer? No. Not yet. Perez says he'll check out the videotape, and see if he's doing anything differently with his mechanics. But at some point, if Perez can't get back on track, Terry Francona will have to address it. He has a special team, with enough talent at every position to avoid letting one player sink the ship. Perez isn't nearly there yet. All it'll take is one save to turn it around. But he needs to prove, soon, that he's the guy they could count on in 2011 and 2012.




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