These are the numbers of Roberto Pérez from 2018. Understandably, when the Cleveland Indians traded Yan Gomes away this past offseason (who had a slash of .266/.313/.449, wRC+ 101 last year), most fans were puzzled and angry at the thought of Roberto Pérez being the starting catcher for the Cleveland Indians in 2019.
Roberto Pérez would like you all to shut up now.
Roberto Pérez had an almost home run in the fourth inning that ended up just being a double off the tippy top of the wall in center field. This double tied the game. Two innings later, Pérez made sure that there would be no review as he absolutely demolished an inside pitch deep onto the home run porch. For those counting at home, that’s 11 dingers for Bebo this season. This puts him in a tie with Francisco Lindor for second most on the team and just one behind team leader Carlos Santana. It’s safe to say that Roberto Pérez has turned it around at the plate and is doing his best to help a struggling offensive team.
But Bebo wasn’t the only one playing against the Yankees today. He needed some help from some other folks to get the win, namely Adam Plutko.
The Adam Plutko show
Adam Plutko has not had a good season so far. Granted, he had only pitched in 2 games with the Tribe this season, but they weren’t great; one was great, but the second was atrocious. Today marked his third start with the Indians this season, and it was a beauty. His one blemish came in the first inning when he gave up a 2-run home run to Didi Gregorious (his first of the season) to put the Tribe in the hole before they had a chance to bat. But it was cruise control for Plutko from there. Aside for a single by DJ LeMahieu in the third, Plutko did not allow another baserunner for the entirety of the afternoon.
Now, Plutko got through six innings with just 2 runs allowed, but Tito took a gamble on Plutko going into the sixth. The lineup was turning over for the third time and Plutko hasn’t really shown to have the “stuff” to survive a lineup for the third time. And things almost went sideways when Brett Gardner blasted a ball to the gap in right field to lead the inning off. But Jordan Luplow raced to the track and slammed up against the wall, making the catch and retiring Gardner.* The next batter, DJ LeMahieu, lined a rocket right at Plutko. Usually, this does not go well for Tribe pitchers. However, in this instance, Plutko made the catch and retired LeMahieu. Aaron Hicks then grounded out to Lindor to end the inning and Plutko’s day. Did it work? Yeah, this time. But with a fairly fresh bullpen and an off day coming on Monday, it seemed strange to ride your AAAA-starter more than needed. A reminder that good results =/= good process.
The CC Sabathia Retirement Party is spoiled
CC Sabathia spent a lot of time in Cleveland to start his career. At this point, in his final season, he has spent more time and had more success in New York. But he still has a place in Cleveland Indians’ history, and this may well be the final time he pitches in Progressive Field. And so it was nice of the home team to ruin it but tagging him for 4 runs and chasing him after 5 innings. Sabathia doesn’t have velocity anymore (he touched 90 mph a couple of times today), but he, like many aging veteran starters, has adapted his approach to include more offspeed stuff to keep hitters off balance. This was most effective in the third inning when he went 3 up, 3 down with 3 strikeouts in the inning, a feat he had not accomplished since last May. But in the fourth inning, the wheels fell off with a Carlos Santana single, a Jordan Luplow double, a José Ramirez sac fly (at this point, I’ll take it), and the aforementioned Bebo double. All enough to tie the game. Jason Kipnis softly lined out to Gleyber Torres, and the almighty Bebo was TOOTBLAN’d into ending the inning. Aaron Boone rolled the dice with Sabathia for another inning, and he ended up getting burned. After Leonys Martin flew out to start the inning, Francisco Lindor snuck a ground ball into the left field corner for a double. Oscar Mercado then came to the plate and gave the Tribe the lead with a mammoth 2-run shot to right center field. Remind me, why isn’t Mercado starting every day?
The offense pours it on
With Sabathia out of the game, Jonathan Holder came into the sixth inning and was immediately torched. Jordan Luplow led off with a single into center field, which put him on base for Roberto Pérez’s smash to the home run porch. Two batters later, Kevin Plawecki did his best Bebo impression and launched a moonshot to the home run porch to bring the Tribe’s run total to 7. Plawecki would also hit a sac fly to right field in the eighth to push another run across.
Tids, the Bit edition
- Jason Kipnis is having a good series. With two hits last night and two more today, maybe he’s starting to heat up.
- Oliver Pérez replaced Adam Plutko in the seventh. He got Didi Gregorius to hit a ground ball on the first pitch of the inning that knocked OP to the ground. A throwing error to first allowed Gregorius to advance to second and then score on a Gleyber Torres double.
- One more Bebo/Yanimal comp:
Roberto Perez has homered in each of his last four games.— Zack Meisel (@ZackMeisel) June 8, 2019
Perez: .839 OPS, 117 wRC+
Gomes: .626 OPS, 66 wRC+
Once again, the Indians are in a position to sweep a first place team. Shane Bieber will take the mound tomorrow to get it done. According to Twitter, the Yankees will go with a bullpen day as a Masahiro Tanaka has been ruled out for Sunday. All the pieces are there for a sweep, now let’s see if they can do it.
*Twitter is a beautiful, beautiful thing sometimes: