Perez Making His Mark As One Of The Great Indians Closers

CLEVELAND (92.3 The Fan) – The past few seasons as the Cleveland Indians have been looking to rebuild for the future, the closer spot has been nothing more than an afterthought.

There was the ill faded experiment to sign and bring in Kerry Wood, which turned out to be nothing more than an awful waste of a two-year deal that cost the team $20.5 million. In return, Wood was an unhappy, mostly injured pitcher who put up 28 saves before he was finally shipped off in a deal to the New York Yankees.

What that move did was open the door for the pitcher that Indians fans now cheer for entering the game in the ninth inning. Chris Perez.

Perez is the best closer the Indians have had since Joe Borowski, who in the magical season of 2007 put up 45 saves in a year that saw the Indians come just short of reaching the World Series.

Monday night at Progressive Field, Perez notched his 30th save of the year. He’s 30-for-34 in save situations, to go along with a mark of 3-6 with an ERA of 2.79.

While Perez has gotten the job done a lot in 2011, it usually doesn’t happen until a few beads of sweat fall from the brows of fans during his save situations.

That was not the case Monday, as Perez struck out Brandon Allen and Conor Jackson before getting Kurt Suzuki to hit a harmless pop up to Asdrubal Cabrera at short to end the game and save the 2-1 win over the Oakland A’s.

“I felt good in the bullpen,” Perez said. “Just one of those nights where everything was going where I wanted it. Kept the slider down and fastball was going away where I wanted it.”

Moving forward, the Indians are happy with the direction that Perez has taken, and entering 2012 and beyond, there’s no doubt the team has their closer.

“I wanted the highest save percentage I could get,” Perez said. “My main thing is to stay healthy and help this team 60 to 65 times a year, that’s my job. If I’m healthy and my arm is good and I execute my pitches I’m gonna have a pretty good year.”

Following in the footsteps in some of the great Indians closers of the past like Ernie Camacho, Doug Jones, Bob Wickman and Jose Mesa, Perez already is on his way to being one of the great Indians closers in the team history.

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