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Jays blast Tribe's bungling bullpen


Jays blast Tribe's bungling bullpen
Toronto - Why Rafael Perez and Jensen Lewis in the seventh inning Tuesday in another bullpen embarrassment at Rogers Centre? The Indians have no one else, that's why.

It may have been different if Adam Miller's right middle finger hadn't shredded internally or Joe Smith didn't get sick in spring training and injure his right index finger and right shoulder trying to rush back so he could avoid the disabled list where he sits today. But it's not, and that's why the Indians lost another winnable game in the late innings to a Toronto team that scored seven runs in the seventh inning for a 10-6 victory.

Tribe manager Eric Wedge is in a corner. Vinnie Chulk and Tony Sipp, battered in the seven-run seventh, are already here from Class AAA Columbus. Perez, counted on be the No. 1 lefty in the pen, shouldn't be pitching in the big leagues right now. Lewis, last year's closer, has been wildly inconsistent as a setup man.

Masa Kobayashi apparently is only fit for mop-up duty, but if the pen keeps pitching like this, he's going to be a busy man. Rafael Betancourt, who pitched two innings for the win in Monday's 12-inning victory, was unavailable. Kerry Wood was being saved to protect the ninth-inning lead that never made it that far.

"We have to keep working hard to figure out how to get the guys that are here going again," said Wedge. "We'll continue to make changes. We'll continue to try people whether they're in Triple-A or not even in this organization. We've going to do whatever we have to do to get people down there that we can count on."

This is the first time Wedge has talked about going outside the organization for help, but there are so many bullpens struggling in the big leagues that the chances of making a deal seem remote.

"What's happening is unacceptable," said Wedge.

The Indians scored four runs in the seventh to turn a 3-2 deficit into a 6-3 lead. It put Anthony Reyes, who allowed three runs in six innings, in line for the victory, but then Wedge had to go to the bullpen.

Perez, with a 15.19 ERA, opened the inning because two of Toronto's first three hitters were lefties. He retired Lyle Overbay on a grounder that glanced off his foot, but Raul Chavez singled as did Travis Snider, the second lefty Perez was supposed to get out. Vinnie Chulk (0-1) relieved and walked Marco Scutaro to load the bases. Aaron Hill followed with a two-run single to make it 6-5. In came Lewis, and he allowed a single to Alex Rios to make it 6-6. Lewis retired Vernon Wells, and Sipp relieved to face lefty Adam Lind.

The rookie lefty gave up consecutive homers to Lind and Scott Rolen to make it 10-6.

Lind hit a 1-2 slider, Rolen a 3-2 fastball. It was the first time he pitched on consecutive days since he joined the Indians , but that didn't bother him.

"I felt better today than I did Monday," said Sipp.

The Indians are 2-3 on this seven-game trip. In two of the losses, the bullpen has blown a 7-6 lead in the ninth and Tuesday's 6-4 lead in the seventh. In the two victories, they've given up five runs in the eighth in a 6-5 decision over Detroit and two runs in the ninth in Monday's 9-7 victory. No lead is safe, no matter what reliever has the ball.

The Tribe has been outscored, 61-41, in the seventh and eighth innings mostly because their setup men can't get a lead to Wood in the ninth. The bullpen is 4-7 with a 6.49 ERA overall. It's blown seven saves in 13 chances and has allowed 47 percent (28-of-60) of its inherited runners to score.

"I think we're all frustrated," said Wedge. "The one thing you can't do is give into it. It's an emotional game. It can wear on you, but you have to separate and go day to day. We understand where our issues are and will continue to try and attack them."

The Indians did their scoring in the seventh against the Toronto pen after being limited to two runs in six innings by lefty Brett Cecil, who was making his big-league debut. Jhonny Peralta, who had three hits, drove in two runs that inning with a single.

Reyes took a 2-1 lead into the sixth. He had two out and the bases loaded when Lind singled through the middle past a diving Peralta for a 3-2 lead. Wedge though Peralta should have made the play.

"That play has to be made," said Wedge. "We had Jhonny playing up the middle, but he broke the wrong way on the ball. Reyes made a very good hitter put the ball on the ground. It's a play that has to be made."

To reach this Plain Dealer reporter: phoynes@plaind.com, 216-999-5158

BOX:

Today

What: Indians at Boston.

When: 7:05 p.m.

Where: Fenway Park.

TV/radio: SportsTime Ohio; WTAM AM/1100.

Pitchers: Carl Pavano (1-3, 7.46 ERA) vs. Justin Masterson (2-1, 4.37).


Author:Fox Sports
Author's Website:http://www.foxsports.com
Added: May 7, 2009

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