Manager Eric Wedge is losing patience with the Cleveland Indians’ bullpen following another huge collapse.
After allowing the Tampa Bay Rays to rally from a seven-run deficit to walk off with the biggest comeback in franchise history, the last-place Indians look to rebound Saturday when the teams continue a four-game series.
Cleveland (14-23) had a nine-run lead on Thursday against Tampa Bay (17-20) before holding on for an 11-7 victory. The Indians weren’t as fortunate Friday, losing 8-7 when B.J Upton hit a game-ending solo homer off Luis Vizcaino(notes), who signed with the Indians on Thursday to bolster the bullpen.
It was the AL-leading eighth blown save by the Indians this season. Cleveland relievers are 4-8 with a 5.85 ERA over 115 1-3 innings pitched this season.
“It was 9-0 (Thursday). It’s 7-0 (Friday), and we end up losing the ballgame. At some point, these guys - they’ve got to look in the mirror,” Wedge said. “When you score seven runs, you should be up at home plate tension-free.
“Our guys are up there and they’re not tension-free for the fact they feel like they’ve got to score more runs, and that’s ridiculous.”
The defending AL champion Rays (17-20) had lost three of four coming in.
“You could see it in guys’ eyes,” said Upton, who had three hits and scored twice. “We don’t stop playing. The energy was still up in the dugout. There was a lot of game left.”
Pavano, who signed a one-year, $1.5 million deal in January with the Indians after winning just nine games with the New York Yankees from 2005-08, has won his last three outings and leads Cleveland in wins.
The right-hander pitched 6 1-3 innings against the White Sox on Monday, allowing four runs and 10 hits in a 9-4 victory.
“Each game I go out there, I’ve felt stronger,” said Pavano, who is 4-2 with a 3.91 ERA in eight starts against the Rays.
Pavano is looking to win four straight starts for the first time since winning five in a row Aug. 16-Sept. 10, 2004 en route to a career-high 18 victories with Florida.
Tampa Bay’s Matt Garza(notes) (3-2, 3.56) looks for his third straight win Tropicana Field. In victories over Boston and Baltimore, the right-hander has been reached for three runs—two earned—and five hits in 15 2-3 innings.
He failed to get a decision in his last start, though, allowing three runs and seven hits while striking out six in a 4-3 loss at Boston on Sunday.
Garza is 0-3 with a 6.12 ERA in five starts against the Indians
Grady Sizemore(notes), who extended his hitting streak to seven games with his franchise-record 19th career leadoff home run on Friday, is hitting .231 (3 for 13) with a homer, three RBIs and five strikeouts against Garza.
Sizemore is hitting only .226 (7 for 31) during his run.