The issue in the top of the ninth for the Indians can be directed back, nearly entirely, to pitching. But it’s not because manager Terry Francona left reliever Cody Allen in the game too long — well, maybe he did. Allen threw only 19 strikes in 31 pitches and gave up three runs.
The problem was that Francona stumbled when making the call to the bullpen.
With two outs, Francona finally made the call to finally replace Allen and hopefully get out of the inning. Soon after he got pitching coach Carl Willis on the phone, pitcher Dan Otero came running to the mound.
Up comes Reds star Joey Votto — who then hit a three-run RBI double off Otero right on cue to put them up by two. Eugenio Suarez hit Votto in just two batters later, too, giving the Reds the three-run lead and eventually the win.
So why did Otero get the nod? Well, apparently he didn’t.
According to The Athletic’s Zach Meisel, Francona told Willis to call down for “OP” on the bullpen phone, meaning Oliver Perez. Willis, though, heard OT, and made the call for Otero to enter the game.
Why Dan Otero instead of Oliver Perez in the ninth? Terry Francona told Carl Willis to call for “OP” on the bullpen phone. Willis thought he said “OT.” When Otero entered, Francona was surprised.
Can’t make this stuff up.
— Zack Meisel (@ZackMeisel) July 11, 2018
Meisel is right. You can’t make this stuff up.
That type of mistake is something that happens at a Little League game — or maybe a high school level game on a rough night. A miscommunication like that — especially in the final inning of a game — shouldn’t happen in professional sports.
It’s probably safe to say that the Indians — whose bullpen currently ranks last in the MLB with a 5.37 ERA — are ready for the All Star break.
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