Teed Off Is Back…Again. And Just In Time for an Indians Closer Controversy!

Should I explain what I’ve been doing for the, oh, last decade and a half?

Of course not. There’s too much going on right now.

First thing’s first, folks. You all know that Chris Perez is essentially done as the closer for the Cleveland Indians and, quite possibly, for the remainder of his career. That’s right. Pure Rage has turned into Pure Goo.

Before I get into that, I could have sworn that Major League Baseball had some sort of rule on the books that said if you were convicted of something drug-related, you were supposed to get at least a 10-game suspension. Perez’s plea to marijuana charges, I’d think, would have certainly fallen into the category.

I digress, of course, As much as we’d all love to be there when Perez did one of his “don’t do drugs” speeches at one of the local schools (I, personally, am crossing fingers he does it at a school where I’m substitute teaching that day), the Tribe have themselves quite a dilemma.

Should the Indians make the playoffs, which at this point seems more and more likely, who’s closing up shop?

The first name that pops up in every fan’s head is Justin Masterson. You know. The guy who, prior to his oblique injury, was the Indians’ ace starting pitcher.

Since his return from the disabled list, he’s made a couple of bullpen appearances. Since the latest Perez meltdown, I’ve warmed up to the idea a little, but let’s not get too crazy. Masterson is the No. 1 starter for this team. If there’s a spot open in the post-season rotation, it should be his.

Conventional wisdom, then, would dictate that the natural choice would be set-up man Joe Smith, who has be the steady hand while Perez and previous set-up man Vinnie Pestano went south. And he did come in Thursday against the Twins and save Perez’s bacon. The concern, though, is that Smith’s 69 appearance lend to the air of being a bit overused. Still, he’s been a rock.

Cody Allen could be the guy, but he shares the same problem as Smith, moreso since he leads the team in appearances (72). But he’s been just as solid, with a 2.47 ERA, compared to Smith’s 2.32.

One thing is certain: Nobody envies the decision manager Terry Francona has to make.


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