Chris-Perez

I tapped my phone. The Angels were fucking everything up. The Indians were safely ahead, cruising to their seventh straight victory. They needed the Angels to beat the Rangers to obtain a commanding two game lead in the wild card standings.

Then a 6-1 lead became a 6-2 lead. Then 6-3. My curiosity got the better of me: who was giving up two runs to this shitty Twins lineup? I glanced at who was pitching. I should’ve known better:

Perez, C.

Oh, sweet Jesus, I thought. Are we really doing this again?

I ran down the stairs, and out of the silliest sports bar on the planet earth. I put my on my headphones and dialed in WTAM’s call of the game.

Chris Perez — universally known as the worst closer to ever hold that title for more than a season — was at it again. Tom Hamilton was struggling to find words to describe the terror that all Indians fans feel as Perez implodes in front of your very eyes. No matter: the Twins bats did plenty of talking for him. Single, Triple, Groundout, S1ingle, Flyout, Homer. 6-5, Indians holding on for dear life. To make matters worse, the Angels had officially fucked everything up, in the past tense: Jurickson Profar had hit a walk-off home run down in Arlington to move the Rangers .5 games behind the Indians.

Francona came out to retrieve the new baseball from Perez’s cold, dead fingers. An ambulance carted his corpse through the dugout, and into the clubhouse.

After Tuesday night’s debacle, I thought I’d finally seen the last of Perez. He blew the damn game, yet again, giving up multiple solo shots to the White Sox less-than-potent lineup. Jason Giambi saved the day, of course, but Terry Francona insisted on playing Dr. Doom in the postgame interview by saying there was “no question” that Chris Perez was still his guy. This did not surprise me, so much as it made me really, really depressed. As much as I love Francona, and everything he has done to ignite this team, he seems to have a way of learning things about his pitchers at a rate slower than most everyone else. How he could still think Perez is “his guy” is beyond baffling.

Let’s take a look at Perez’ September stats, shall we? For the record, these statistics do not take into account tonight’s beautiful line (.2 IP, 4 ER).

6.24 ERA. Well, that’s not very good.

1.97 WHIP. Wow, only two base runners per inning? It always feels like six.

.378 BAA. Yikes.

.456 OBPA. Uh oh.

1.168 OPSA. Oh, boy.

.524 BABIP. He cannot possibly be a closer.

That’s our closer, ladies and gents. Till death do us part, it would seem.

Is he facing tough teams in big situations, you ask? Yes and no. This is who Perez has faced in September: DET, BAL, BAL, NYM, KCR, CHW, KCR, HOU, CHW. Well, that’s not the toughest slate I’ve ever seen. On the other hand, obviously every situation Perez has been put in is a tough situation — the Indians are in the midst of a playoff run. Except, tonight Perez came into the game with a 6-1 lead. He was charged with facing a Minnesota Twins lineup that has exactly one player that you can name (seriously, look at tonight’s box score). And that name is not Joe Mauer, by the way.

You also might be saying: you don’t understand sabermetrics very well! That .524 BABIP has got to come down to earth at some point! False. When teams like the Twins and White Sox are turning the ninth inning into a Yoenis Cespedes batting practice session, there are no a lot of opportunities for plays to be made (for the record, I do understand that home runs are not factored into BABIP — I’m talking about balls that are tattooed and in play). Chris Perez is simply not getting it done by any metric.

I’ve attempted to come up with many analogies to describe what it is like to watch Chris Perez pitch, but all of them have missed like one of his sliders (usually down and in to the lefties). The truth of the matter is, watching Chris Perez pitch is like watching Chris Perez pitch. It is as nauseating as it is uncanny. It is the very essence of anxiety, and impossible to articulate to those who have never watched him attempt to close out a baseball game.

For those of you who have not had to endure a Perez save attempt, for all of our sakes, I hope you never get another opportunity to do so. If you do, know that I am somewhere in the bay area, welling up with tears of hatred.

Stick a fork in that clown, Tito. We are all ready to move on.