Indians on wrong end of seesaw affair
Tribe 'pen struggles again, allowing seven-run seventh
TORONTO -- It's getting to a point now for the Indians where manager Eric Wedge is seemingly forced to face questions about his struggling bullpen every other day.
The Tribe's relief corps entered Tuesday's game against the Blue Jays holding a collective 5.89 ERA. By the end of the day, those numbers got a whole lot worse.
The Indians' bullpen blew yet another lead, this time surrendering seven runs to the Jays in the seventh inning, en route to disappointing 10-6 loss at Rogers Centre. Cleveland (10-17) has now dropped three of its past four games and will continue its road trip by heading to Boston for a two-game set beginning Wednesday.
As expected, the bullpen's debacle on Tuesday again caused Wedge to face questions. But at this point, it's starting to seem that there are no definite answers to be had regarding the state of the bullpen.
"It's unacceptable. We've got to do better than this," Wedge said. "Obviously, we're having a very difficult time in the bullpen. We're having trouble getting people out, having trouble getting people out in key situations. We tried everybody and we're going to keep working to figure it out."
Some changes to bullpen personnel have already taken place for the Tribe this year. Wedge did not rule out forthcoming alterations to the group.
"We have got to keep working hard to figure out how to get these guys going here," said the manager. "We're going to continue to make changes, we're going to continue to try people, whether they are here, or in Triple-A, or not even in the organization.
"We're going to do whatever we have to do to try to get people down there that we can count on."
Heading into the bottom of the seventh inning of Tuesday's game, the Indians looked poised for a two-game sweep over the American League East-leading Blue Jays (19-10). The Tribe had just battled back from a deficit in the top of the inning to take a 6-3 lead. But that all changed in a hurry.
In the bottom of the seventh, relievers Rafael Perez and Vinnie Chulk combined to load the bases before Chulk surrendered a two-run single to Aaron Hill that cut the lead to 6-5. Toronto's Alex Rios tied the game at 6 with a single off of right-hander Jensen Lewis.
"You have got to make pitches when you're in that situation, and obviously I didn't," Chulk said.
Following Rios' single, things got ugly.
Rookie reliever Tony Sipp surrendered back-to-back home runs to Adam Lind (a three-run shot) and Scott Rolen to cap the scoring in the seven-run frame. Lind's shot was truly a blast, landing in the stadium's second deck in right field.
Though Sipp is a rookie, he believes that he should be on par with the rest of his bullpen mates in regards to his outlook on the mound.
"No matter how long I've been in the game at this level, I still have the same expectations as everybody else," Sipp said.
The blown lead by the bullpen erased what was yet another strong showing by the Cleveland offense. Trailing, 3-2, entering the top of the seventh, the Indians strung together a four-run rally to overtake the Jays.
Victor Martinez, who earlier in the game extended his hit streak to 14 games, contributed an RBI single in the seventh. After a wild pitch by Toronto reliever Jesse Carlson allowed another Cleveland run to score, Jhonny Peralta poked a single to center field that drove in two runs and increased the Tribe's lead to 6-3. Peralta, who entered the day hitting just .198, finished 3-for-5 with two singles and a double.
"Guys are fighting," Wedge said. "They keep fighting back and pushing. There's a lot of energy in there, but we have to work to find a way to keep a lead and get people out late in the ballgame."
Cleveland starter Anthony Reyes, who earned a no-decision, allowed three runs on six hits over six innings. He walked one, while striking out five. Jays starter Brett Cecil, who was making his Major League debut, also received a no-decision, yielding two runs (one earned) on six hits across six innings.
David Singh is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.