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Sunday, July 22, 2018

Indians had costly bullpen miscommunication in loss

Terry Francona

The Cleveland Indians blew a 4-0 lead in the ninth inning against the Cincinnati Reds on Tuesday, and a bullpen miscommunication was a big factor.

Cody Allen struggled in his attempt to close out a 4-0 lead and exited the game with the bases loaded, two outs, and the score 4-3. The Indians needed one out to end the game, but the dangerous Joey Votto was due up. Indians manager Terry Francona wanted Oliver Perez to face Votto in a lefty-lefty matchup, but there was a miscommunication.

According to Francona, pitching coach Carl Willis thought Francona asked for “OP,” but Willis heard “OT.” OP would have been Oliver Perez, but “OT” turned out to be Dan Otero. So the wrong pitcher was called for out of the bullpen.

Otero allowed a bases-clearing double to Votto then a walk and a single before the inning ended with Cincinnati up 7-4. Cleveland couldn’t score in the bottom of the ninth and lost.

Keep in mind that in addition to the lefty-lefty matchup compared to Otero, who is a right-hander, Perez has a 0.77 ERA this season vs. Otero’s 5.71 mark. It’s a wonder why Willis even thought Francona would be asking for Otero anyway, and why he didn’t double-check.

This is a big mistake that should not happen, but we’ve actually seen something similar happen in the World Series before.

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