The closer surrendered three runs in the ninth inning in the season's initial contest, blowing a save in a game the Indians lost in an Opening Day-record 16 frames. Since that outing, however, he has converted 10 consecutive save opportunities, for the most in baseball.
"It was just an aberration on Opening Day," Perez said. "I told people that it was an out-of-body experience. I don't know what happened. I wish I did. You can just chalk it up to inexperience, being young, being a little bit over-excited. But next year, if I get that call again, I'll be able to fall back on that experience."
Perez strained an oblique during Spring Training and made just three appearances before his forgettable outing on Opening Day, but his confidence never wavered. He points to his late-season performance in 2011 -- he posted a 7.71 ERA in September -- as the reason for fan unrest after the blown save.
"I had that blip on Opening Day and it harkened back to some of my outings in September last year, so the leash got shorter," he said. "But in my mind, I told everybody in Spring Training that my arm feels better than it did at any point last year, and I'm sticking with that. I feel great.
"It was Game 1. I had 161 more games to go. It could get bad really fast. But it's a long season; I knew I had time to get back on the horse."