Cleveland Indians closer Chris Perez needs to just stay in bed next August 5th, because he’s likely to be pitching in another late-inning squeaker against a Detroit team that loves busting his chops on that day.
Last Aug. 5th, the Tigers mustered a dramatic 10th-inning comeback against Perez by scoring five runs in the final inning, capped off by a walk-off, two run blast by the “Bullpen Marauder,” Miggy Cabrera. After the game, Perez tweeted that it was “the low point of my professional career.”
If that’s so, then Monday's game might have Perez on suicide watch. Then again, as an “elite” closer, Perez has ways of dealing with adversity.
But he’s got to be thinking that the deja vu demons have it out for him. Different season. Same night. Same team and same results. The stakes were just much higher this time, as Cleveland was three outs away from cutting Detroit’s AL Central lead to 2 games. It seemed Tito’s squad had the game on lock, but Perez coughed up four ninth-inning runs on three hits, capped by Alex Avila’s game-winning three-run shot.
The win was huge for the Tigers who now hold a four-game lead over Cleveland and have been unable to shake the pesky Indians squad, despite winning nine straight games. With shortstop Johnny Peralta gone for 50-games due to his Biogenisis suspension, head-to-head wins like this are extremely important to Detroit, who will attack the playoff stretch a man down.
Terry “The Curse Breaker” Francona has worked wonders with this Cleveland squad and has this baseball-rich franchise poised for a long-overdue playoff run. Catching Detroit is heavy-lifting, but at least they don’t have to play anymore games on Aug.5th.