CLEVELAND -- Do not expect more than a peep or two out of the "Bullpen Mafia" until next season. Indians manager Manny Acta said he will not push his workhorse relievers during the final week of the season.
"We're not in the race anymore," Acta said. "I have to be careful with those guys, because we have more baseball to play next year."
Rafael Perez (third), Tony Sipp (seventh), Joe Smith (eighth), Vinnie Pestano (15th) and Chris Perez (20th) all rank among the American League leaders in appearances. Entering Thursday's action, Smith had tied his career high for innings in a season, at 63 1/3, and Sipp, at 60 1/3, was three frames away from establishing a new mark. Rafael Perez has only topped the 61 innings he currently sits at once in his career, when he hurled 76 1/3 innings in 2008.
Acta said he will use his top relief options to preserve leads, but sparingly otherwise.
"When we have a chance to win the ballgame, when we're ahead in the game and the guys are rested," Acta said, "we're going to pitch our main guys. But we're not going to be throwing guys out there just to keep the game close."
For that, the Tribe will rely upon a slew of inexperienced hurlers it has called up in recent weeks. Nick Hagadone, Zach Putnam, Josh Judy and Corey Kluber have all stepped foot on a Major League diamond. Now Acta is waiting for them to get their feet wet.
"We brought some guys up," Acta said, "but those kids haven't had any success yet for us to trust them in any of those roles."