Sep/17/12 08:21 AM Filed in: Chris Perez
CLEVELAND -- Closer Chris Perez loved seeing Cleveland's offense break through for three runs in the ninth inning against Texas on Thursday night. He was especially happy that the dramatic rally came with no outs.
"I had time to get ready," Perez said with a laugh on Friday morning.
Save opportunities -- especially those like the one that rapidly presented itself in Thursday's 5-4 victory -- have been few and far between over the past two months. That's the nature of the beast for a closer employed by a ballclub mired in a long losing streak.
Needless to say, Perez enjoyed slamming the door on Thursday.
"It felt like a fun game," he said. "That's what we did last year a lot, those kind of wins. It's been a while since we felt like that."
Over the past 45 games, during which Cleveland has a 10-35 record, Perez has logged 13 1/3 innings over 15 appearances that included only nine save chances. Compare that with the team's first 99 games, when the two-time All-Star worked in 40 games (38 1/3 innings) and had 31 save opportunities.
To put it another way, Perez went from having a save opportunity roughly once every three games over the season's first three months to averaging one every five over the past two months.
"The closing role, it comes fast and furious, and then it's barren, and then fast and furious, and then barren again," he said. "It's an ebb and flow. This year it's been a little easier. I don't know why. I really haven't lost anything with the days off."
Perez knows that the volume of save opportunities he receives is out of his control. And with three weeks left in the season, he said that he and his teammates need to focus on the things that are under their control.
"Everybody knows what they're playing for, hopefully," he said. "There's probably only a handful of guys who should feel comfortable in this room with where they stand going into next year. Unfortunately, when teams underperform or you don't meet expectations, they tend to want to change stuff. Teams that win or make the playoffs, they don't get overhauled, because obviously, they were successful.
"So these next three weeks are big for guys to show what they can do here. They might just say, 'It's only three weeks,' but it's a big three weeks. What else do they have to go by? This is big league competition. You can only get by so much with what you did in the Minors. Eventually, you have to step up here."