With One Out To Go In the 9th Inning, The Indians Managed To Blow A 4-Run Lead To The Reds After Inserting The Wrong Reliever Due To Bullpen Miscommunication
LBS- The Cleveland Indians blew a 4-0 lead in the ninth inning against the Cincinnati Reds on Tuesday, and a bullpen miscommunication was a big factor.
Cody Allen struggled in his attempt to close out a 4-0 lead and exited the game with the bases loaded, two outs, and the score 4-3. The Indians needed one out to end the game, but the dangerous Joey Votto was due up. Indians manager Terry Francona wanted Oliver Perez to face Votto in a lefty-lefty matchup, but there was a miscommunication.
According to Francona, pitching coach Carl Willis thought Francona asked for “OP,” but Willis heard “OT.” OP would have been Oliver Perez, but “OT” turned out to be Dan Otero. So the wrong pitcher was called for out of the bullpen.
Otero allowed a bases-clearing double to Votto then a walk and a single before the inning ended with Cincinnati up 7-4. Cleveland couldn’t score in the bottom of the ninth and lost.
Keep in mind that in addition to the lefty-lefty matchup compared to Otero, who is a right-hander, Perez has a 0.77 ERA this season vs. Otero’s 5.71 mark.
First and foremost, a tip of the cap is owed to the Cincinnati Reds. As complicit as the Cleveland Indians were in falling asleep at the wheel just prior to parking themselves in the win column, sparking a last second comeback the likes of which hasn't been seen since the days in which a fat drunk had the entire sport of baseball by its bat is nonetheless impressive...
That said, the miscommunication that let to said comeback is just further evidence for a theory I've long stood by. So, one more time for the people in the cheap seats...
THE BASEBALL SEASON IS TOO DAMN LONG!
I'm willing to listen to other explanations for a bullpen coach's inability to use common sense in crunch time and warming up a reliever that had no business facing one of the best hitters in baseball with the bases loaded and the game on the line, but right now the fatigue of 162 games played primarily through the dead of summer is the most logical reason I can conjure up for such carelessness. I suppose I could also point to Cleveland Indians use of generic and oddly similar nicknames as a basis for the confusion. However, since simply looking at the direness of the situation or the handedness of the players involved in the confusion could have cleared it up, I think I'm sticking with blaming the dog days for a coach's mental cat nap.
Again, the Reds deserve all the credit in the world popping out the casket right before it got lowered into the ground, but the Indians completely losing all forms of focus during the burial isn't exactly a great look for baseball. The idea that the man whose job it is to prepare the players with which a victory is to be trusted was about as attentive during a call to the bullpen as he is when his wife tells a work story would be alarming, if not for the idea that it seems like an extremely monotonous practice to partake in by mid-July.