Chris Perez: “I don’t want to cost us games”

Indians closer Chris Perez told manager Terry Francona “I don’t want to cost us games” after nearly blowing a 6-1 lead for Cleveland on Thursday night, the manager shared during his post-game press conference.

With the help of Joe Smith, the Indians barely held on for a 6-5 win over the Minnesota Twins at Target Field. But for the second straight appearance, the former All-Star Perez coughed up several runs in the ninth inning.

Francona was far more non-committal and stoic about Perez’s performance and future as the team’s closer after the game. He applauded the 28-year-old Perez for walking into his office to share that comment. He said “we’ll figure it out” in reference to the closer position.

It was a rare sign of non-confidence in his players. Francona said it’s best not to make snap judgments with these decisions five minutes after a tough outing. But he reiterated several times that he was happy the club found a way to pull off the victory, which was what they obviously set out to do.

The Texas Rangers also had a walk-off win on Thursday and the Tampa Bay Rays won, keeping the same order in the American League Wild Card standings. Cleveland has three more games against the Twins this weekend, but perhaps without a clear closer.

[Related: Justin Masterson: Ace to Closer?]

  • nj0

    99% confidence? And here I thought it was about having quality pitches and good command.

  • nj0

    I believe the rise of the position of closer is directly related to the nature of the job of the sportswriter. One bad inning can render a night’s work and 2,000+ words obsolete.The sportswriter and the closer are natural enemies.

    Said in Cleveland press box: "I had a really nice story written. Anyone want to read it?" #CtrlA #Delete— Jordan Bastian (@MLBastian) September 25, 2013

  • Jose Mesa

    I’ll do it.

  • Steve

    I wouldn’t argue with that, though he did get an even better story to write that night.

    But the fact of the matter is that a lot of the “he wont talk, what a jerk!” backlash is because you could toss a softball question at Perez, and he’d take the bait, pretty much writing a column for you. And now that’s gone.

  • nj0

    Same thing happened to Albert Belle. Cost him the ’95 MVP (though neither he nor Mo Vaughn deserved it imo).

  • Jaker

    That’s the first thing Chris Perez has ever said that I agree with.


  • Rick Manning

    I havent seen anybody raving about his .314 OBP. Bourn handled the fans with kid gloves, Perez was much more blunt and direct about it. Cleveland fans are thin skinned and uber-sensitive, Bourn gets that, Perez doesnt. Well, he probably does now…too little too late and all that.

    If you’re saying Bourn got a pass because of his play, I dont agree with that, at all. Hes been very Juan Pierre esque at the plate this year.

  • rico07

    So quit then and stay home and smoke up. Pot heads do not belong in the MLB! A woman can do a better job. If you are still around, there will be 4 less season tickets sold. Perez makes me puke!

  • rico07

    Shoo him out today!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • JK

    What does this have to do w the Browns? We’re talking about the Indians.

  • deebo

    Perez looked pretty Jim Morrison at the end of his life fat and bloated to me last night. Like you could find a chicken drummie for later in his beard. Mind not right? Problems at home? Reading too much Twitter or website comment boards? Hitting the sauce? Out of shape? Can’t get his smoke on? Combination of all of the above?

    He visibly looked to be laboring pretty hard last night to make some not so great pitches. Command, control, and location seemed to be all over the place. Just doesn’t seem to have it for what ever reason, mental or physical, or both.

    Forget all the Perez hate, who is or isn’t talking to the media…who cares, he is just not pitching well right now. He had a good stretch after the All Star break and was really solid, but something happened to his body or his mind or both and he is just not a very good pitcher right now and we need someone as a closer to be a very good pitcher who can get three outs. I guess my vote goes to Masterson as that pitcher who can get those three outs.

  • Rick Manning

    Edgar Martinez?

  • bjontzen

    I didn’t mean to “whine” about Perez, but merely wanted to call him out for the hypocritical behavior he’s demonstrated from last year to this year.
    You’re right, I hadn’t considered that even when he was making comments I find self serving, they were also “gold mine” comments for many sports writers.
    Fan’s told him him to “shut his mouth” when he complained about them, and that is certainly the fan’s right.
    I don’t beieve that fan’s ever told him to shut his mouth if he wanted to comment about a game.
    And YES, Chris does have a number of character flaws (as we all do) however here’s a guy getting paid $7.5 million this year and yet he’s decided he should quit with 3 games left and we’re literally 1 game away from play-offs?
    He’s not being honorable! He’s being a whiny, scared, self centered non-team player…
    To bad he didn’t have the support of the fans – no telling how much that might have in his assuaging his lack of confidence…. But he’s got no one to blame for that but himself.
    Perez has given up… If he’s really such a misuderstood great team player, let’s see how much of his salary he’s willing to give up in order to help the team carry on without him. That was the point of my very first post on this article.
    Again, since he complained about Indians Fan’s not spending their own salaries to watch him play, let’s see if he’s willing to give up some of his uber-salary for being a quitter.

  • bjontzen

    Chris Perez was NOT right for lambasting fans for their attendance. He get’s paid MILLIONS (which is 99.5%) more than the average fan in Cleveland makes while they use that .5 of 1% of Perez’s salary to try and raise a family of 3 or 4. And occasionally can use a bit of that income to attend a game.
    You want to blame the fanbase – I blame many more economic reasons before I blame apathy. AND again, a baseball player making millions per year to play a game really has no right to judge others that still help to pay his salary.
    BTW – As Chris has now allegedly said he doesn’t want to cost the team and wanted to quit… I would have alot more respect for him if he gave back a chunk of the $7.5M he was getting paid for this year.
    At $7.5M he’s making more in each of his single inning appearances than a family of 4 makes in a YEAR in Cleveland… And yet you think he was right to lambast fans when he felt disrespected.

  • bjontzen

    You can’t compare football to baseball attendance. If that was the case why is everyone building smaller baseball stadiums. Simply because in most markets baseball has never drawn like football not to mention that baseball has an extra 140+ games (DUH).
    Perez was NOT right, not to mention that he blew what is arguably one of the most important home games of the season (THE OPENER) where we regularly sell out. Perez blew a 4-1 lead which lead to a lot of ridicule and bad feelings in Cleveland, especially after he decided to call out the fans for booing him and not showing up more often to watch him potentiially blow another save.