CLEVELAND (92.3 the Fan) – The longer the 2017 season has carried on, the less an everyday catcher has been established for the Cleveland Indians.
Yan Gomes wound up catching in 107 games over the course of 2017, while Roberto Perez appeared in 73. Instead of sticking with their normal catcher all year, Perez got the call in three of four games in the ALDS to this point.
He will start Game 5 as well.
Perez got the nod, with Manager Terry Francona calling the move ‘probably the hardest decision,’ largely because of his performance in a pivotal game in 2016.
When the Indians topped the Blue Jays in a 19-inning contest in Toronto, Perez caught all 19 innings and subsequently nine different pitchers.
“I think with the possibility of using — you don’t know how many pitchers in a game like tonight,” Francona said. “It’s not to say that Gomer is not good at making adjustments. I think we just feel like Roberto is kind of off the charts in that department.”
Francona also mentioned that Perez has been in a relative groove offensively as of late, but that it would never be the driving force of a decision.
Gomes of course was the hero both offensively and defensively in Game 2 on Friday, and is 2-for-6 in the series. Perez is 2-for-7 with 2 walks in the opening round, and slashed .270/.333/.608 over his last 25 appearances in the regular season.
The skipper talked about having drafted four lineups prepared going into Tuesday night, dependent on the availability of DH Edwin Encarnacion and third baseman Giovanny Urshela.
Even after Francona left the facility following the team’s optional workout, he had still not made a decision after speaking to Bench Coach and confidant Brad Mills.
“When the guys went home last night, Millsy told them that we’d get ahold of them because we actually didn’t know,” Francona said. “I took some time and talked to the coaches, and as always I talked to Millsy just about everything. We finally decided that’s what we were going to do.”
That does not mean that Gomes will not appear.
“I don’t think there was a wrong decision there, and I think before it’s all said and done — and we told Gomer that he’d have something to say about the outcome of the game,” Francona added.