CHICAGO -- When the Indians moved him to the bullpen, Aaron Laffey made it clear he wanted to pitch in meaningful situations. Two games into the season, it appears Laffey is getting his wish.
For an Indians team trying to settle the setup roles that lead to closer Chris Perez (who is filling in for an injured Kerry Wood), it doesn't get much more meaningful than a one-run lead in the bottom of the seventh inning. That's the situation Laffey was handed Wednesday night, and he handled it well. He gave up a leadoff single to A.J. Pierzynski, but got Mark Teahen to ground into a double play and retired Alexei Ramirez to end the inning. He went on to retire Juan Pierre to open the eighth before handing the ball off to right-hander Joe Smith.
"I definitely feel good about that," Laffey said. "That's the situation every guy wants to be in. Holds are becoming my thing I'm interested in, linking the starter to the closer. Every guy wants to be the guy called into those situations."
Manager Manny Acta said to expect to see Laffey in plenty of those situations, as roles get established. And his faith in Smith was also rewarded, as the side-armer quickly retired the only two batters he faced, with Perez sealing the deal in the ninth.
"This is a shutdown bullpen, I think," Laffey said. "With the quality of stuff we have, I think we'll be able to shut the door."
"We're trying to settle roles, but we have great camaraderie," he said. "I think the bullpen is going to be a strong point for this team."