In a move that could have helped Cleveland’s bullpen and raised the white flag at once, Mark DeRosa was sent to St. Louis for a young reliever named Chris Perez. DeRosa, the all out, “play ball like a kid,” kinda guy, gone. How could the trade possibly be worth it?
Insert Perez, the 24-year old righty drafted in the first round of the 2006 draft by St. Louis, a club known for selecting talented players and milking the most out of them. Surely, the young gun could do nothing but help the team with arguably the worst bullpen in the majors, right?
In his Indians’ debut on Monday, Chris Perez officially became a member of the Tribe. No, I don’t mean he put on the cap and the uniform and waltzed on to Progressive Field. I mean, Chris Perez folded. He choked. He said it himself, the first impression was downright pathetic.
In 29 appearances in the National League, Perez managed 30 strikeouts against 15 walks, but only allowed 11 earned runs. Only 17 hits had been gathered against Perez in the other league, as he accumulated a win, a save, and three holds.
Perhaps his worst outing came at Wrigley Field on April 28th when he gave up two runs in the bottom of eighth, ensuring himself a loss and a blown save. In that frame, Perez gave up two earned runs on an Alfonso Soriano blast. Sure, his numbers have been worse before, but not in a clutch situation.
Come Monday, that all changed. Facing a 2-0 defecit against the White Sox heading into the top of the ninth inning, Eric Wedge decided to give his new weapon a shot. Instead of displaying some skills that could help him become a key arm in the bullpen, Perez hit the first two batters (near the facial area both times), then walked the bases loaded. A fielder’s choice scored Jayson Nix, followed by a double by Chris Getz that plated two more. A wild pitch brought in A.J. Pierzynski, and a single by Gordon Beckham brought in Getz.
After just two-thirds of an inning, Perez let the lead balloon to 6-0, officially ending hopes of a possible Tribe comeback, despite their own 3-run ninth.
Chris, welcome to Cleveland!