Tuesday, April 21, 2009


Even when an Indians lead seems bullpen-proof, they have trouble closing out wins. It happened again Tuesday as the Indians were six outs away from a 6-1 lead when they went to their bulllpen, and before you knew it they were crawling across the finish line, escaing with a desperate 8-7 win.

Following the game the Indians recalled reliever Tony Sipp from Columbus. That roster move was made one day after Indians general manager Mark Shapiro said that there were no relievers at Columbus who were any better than what the Indians had in Cleveland.

Apparently all it took was one more day of watching the struggles of the big league bullpen to change the mind of Shapiro and other Indians officials. Sipp's arrival further emphasizes Manager Eric Wedge's pre-game revelation Tuesday that the formerly dependable Rafael Perez will no longer be used in an eighth inning setup role. At least not until Perez starts pitching closer to the level he was at the last two years when he was the Indians' most reliable reliever.

Sipp gives Wedge another left-handed reliever to use late in games, which they now need since Perez is being rolled into the garage for an overhaul. In the meantime, the rest of the bullpen isn't much better. Sipp could be the first of multiple roster moves inovloving relief pitchers. The Indians can ill-afford to wait around for their relievers to round into shape. The club is already off to a poor start. More poor work by the bullpen could threaten the Indians' ability to avoid dropping out of the division race almost before it begins.


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