Indians' Terry Francona says miscommunication led to bullpen collapse
The Cleveland Indians' epic bullpen collapse on Tuesday night can be chalked up to a case of mistaken identity.
After Trevor Bauer dominated the Cincinnati Reds with 12 strikeouts over eight scoreless innings, the Reds scored seven runs off Cody Allen and Dan Otero -- all tallied with two outs -- en route to a 7-4 road victory.
Allen hit a batter to lead off the ninth, then allowed two singles and a double that pulled the Reds within 4-3.
With two outs and the bases loaded after two more walks, Indians manager Terry Francona wanted a new reliever to close it out.
There was just one problem. Francona said afterward there was a miscommunication. He requested "OP" -- Oliver Perez -- and it was understood as "OT," Otero's nickname, and Otero was told to warm up in the bullpen.
When the pitching change was made, Francona realized something had gone wrong.
"When I saw OT coming through the gate, it was not the guy I was expecting," Francona told reporters.
Tuesday marked the fourth time in five days that Otero took the mound, an unusual workload for a reliever.
Otero gave up a double to Reds slugger Joey Votto that cleared the bases and put the Reds up 6-4. Another single brought in the final run.
Pitching coach Carl Willis said he was responsible for calling the bullpen to warm up Otero instead of Perez.
"I made the mistake. I brought the wrong guy up," Willis said. "Not that [Otero] can't get the job done; just wasn't the right matchup."
Willis said he should have confirmed the matchup with Francona. But Votto was actually 0-for-4 versus Otero until the double that won Tuesday's contest.
Francona said that, ultimately, the mistake was his.
"That one lands squarely on me," Francona said. "There's no getting around it. I've got to be responsible for that."
Allen took his own share of the blame.
"I take sole responsibility for everything that took place there," Allen said. "We're confident in every guy that runs out of that gate, and we shouldn't have been in that position in the first place."
Regardless of where the blame was placed, the end result was a stirring comeback win for the Reds and a night to forget for the Indians.
Cleveland Indians blow four-run 9th inning lead due to manager's uninspired nicknames
We at the Loop have long been critics of lazy sports nicknames. What used to be a world filled with "Catfish," "Cool Papa," and "The Big Hurt" is now filled with initials or "First letter of first name + first syllable of last name" handles. Usually the only victim of this godforsaken practice is creativity; last night in Cleveland, it decided a ballgame.
The Indians were up 4-0 against the Cincinnati Reds in the ninth inning, but surrendered seven runs to their Ohio counterparts, losing 7-4. Clearly a lot has to go wrong in such a situation. Amazingly, part of that debacle was a miscommunication of nicknames from manager Terry Francona to the Cleveland bullpen.
The reason that matters is Otero is yielding a .368 batting average to left-handed hitters, kind of a big deal given he was brought in to face lefty Joey Votto. The former MVP proceeded to rip a three-run double off Otero, giving the win and series to Cincinnati. Will this be a watershed day for shitty sobriquets? Probably not. But dammit, it gives us hope.
Cleveland Indians: 3 takeaways from the Indians demolition of the Reds
The Cleveland Indians certainly gave their fans something to smile about on Wednesday night. For the third time this month the Indians scored 10+ runs and it’s only June 11th. The Indians showed that they weren’t going to roll over against their in-state rivals as they scored 19 runs against the Reds.
The Tribe scored nine runs in the third and six in the fourth to put this game out of reach for the reds. The Indians offense looked like they found new life after Tuesday night’s embarrassment. We won’t get into that. Today is about a win. Here are the takeaways from the win.
The offense took off early and never looked back
The Indians lead all of baseball in runs in the first inning. Wednesday night was no different for that. Jose Ramirez hit his 26th home-run in the first (he hit another one later on) and the Indians took a two-run lead in the first.
The Indians have been so good at scoring early that it’s hard to remember how good they’ve been in the first frame. It’s hard to remember when you have a bullpen like Cleveland’s. In this game; as we saw, that wasn’t the case. The offense made sure that Carlos Carrasco got his win and had nothing to worry about.
Carlos Carrasco didn’t have to do much
Carrasco was able to breathe easy tonight but it was still a big night for him. He earned his 1000th career strikeout with the first batter he faced. He tossed 83 pitches through five innings with seven strikeouts in that span.
The Indians thought is was better to let Carrasco have light work in this game as he just returned from the DL last week. If we see more outings like this from Carrasco, fans will have a lot of confidence in their rotation at the halfway point.
Adam Plutko pitched out of the bullpen and I don’t wanna talk about it
Wednesday night wasn’t all sunshine and homers for the Tribe. Adam Plutko didn’t have a great game in his first appearance from the bullpen since he replaced Josh Tomlin. He actually looked a lot like Tomlin. Plutko allowed three runs on six hits in four innings to close the game out.
It was nice to see have the run-support to give the rest of the bullpen an off night. Still, we want to see better from Plutko. He lost his starting role after a bad outing against the Oakland A’s and performances like this aren’t going to earn him that role back.
But let’s not focus too much on the negatives. You hope a game like this will give the Cleveland Indians a boost. After Tuesday night they need a wake-up call. That wake-up call looked like it showed up on Wednesday. That wake up call will need to stick around as the Yankees come to town to face the Tribe this weekend.