Jeanmar Gomez and the Tribe bullpen made sure that two runs would be enough today.
Gomez didn't have the control he usually had, throwing only 59 of his 105 pitches for strikes, but he never fell into an extended strike-throwing slump. Since his 8-run outing against Chicago, Gomez has in his last two outings thrown 13 scoreless innings. He's been, at least as results are concerned, what we expected out of Jimenez and Masterson.
Another factor in the Tribe's 23-17 has been their bullpen. After Gomez was done, the Indians still had to three innings to get through. The shadows by this time had stretched to cover home plate, and that certainly helped the effectiveness of Smith, Pestano, and Perez, but I don't know if they really needed the assistance. Gone was Pestano's recent blip of wildness, and Perez in the ninth inning looked as good as he's been since arriving in Cleveland.
The Tribe offense managed two runs just like on Friday night. Anibal Sanchez, Miami's starter, doesn't have the stuff that others in the Marlin rotation have, but his command of those pitches more than make up more it. When he fell behind in the count, he more often than not would throw an off-speed pitch in a perfect location to get back into the at-bat. He gave up two runs, one each in the fourth and the fifth innings; Asdrubal Cabrera hit a no-doubt homer to lead off the fourth, and Jason Kipnis hit a sacrifice fly after two consecutive singles in the fifth.
After the game, Chris Perez vented some frustration with both the early-season attendance and a recent booing, which was heard because there wasn't a large crowd. Chris Assenheimer quotes Perez:
“Guys don’t want to come over here and people wonder why,” Perez said. “Why doesn’t Carlos Beltran want to come over here? Well, because of that. That’s part of it. It doesn’t go unnoticed — trust us. That’s definitely a huge reason. Nobody wants to play in front of 5,000 fans. We know the weather (stinks), but people see that. Other players know that.
“You had a choice of playing in St. Louis where you get 40,000 (fans) like Beltran chose to do, or you can come to Cleveland. It’s going to take more money to get him to come to Cleveland. That’s just how it is. That’s another thing that you have to go against. It’s not only the payrolls of the (American League) East teams, but that kind of stuff.”
There's much more where that came from, so I suggest checking out the entire piece to get the entire context.
My first reaction: I completely understand where Perez is coming from. If you're an athlete who otherwise has no connection to a city, playing in front of sparse crowds is going to be a big negative when you contemplate signing with a club. Those were his thoughts, and he voiced them; it's been his history to be completely honest when answering a question. It's really bad timing to voice them now (though he has been hinting at his frustrations lately on his Twitter account); the Indians drew two of their biggest crowds of the season this weekend, and it seems that there's some momentum building in the community towards the Indians. It's never a good time to antagonize your fanbase, even if you're speaking the truth. But I can't argue with what he said.