Perez getting sharper with more work

Perez getting sharper with more work

CLEVELAND -- Indians closer Chris Perez has taken some criticism this season for his drama-filled appearances. In collecting his last two saves, Perez has answered any naysayers by being downright boring.

Perez retired the side in order to notch saves against the Twins on Friday and Saturday. The six-up, six-down showing was a strong showing that followed a rough month for the Indians' stopper.

The Indians were never concerned about Perez.

"This guy's been money since last year," Indians manager Manny Acta said. "He went through a rough spot, but that's part of the game. Nobody's perfect. Even Mariano Rivera has his bad days."

In 10 appearances between July 9 and Tuesday, Perez went 0-2 with two saves, two blown saves and an uncharacteristically high 7.71 ERA. During that turbulent stretch, the right-hander allowed nine runs (eight earned) on 12 hits with six strikeouts and five walks over 9 1/3 innings.

Perez, who has saved 25 of his 28 opportunities this season, believes that more regular work of late might be one reason for his improved performance.

"Getting work, it just helps you with your location," he said. "Your slider is tighter, your fastball, your put-away pitches, what you need to do when guys are on base, they're there when you pitch two or three times in a row, or three or four times a week.

"That's the hardest part about not throwing in games -- staying sharp -- especially in my role."