Indians Blame Bullpen Meltdown On Phone Issues

Terry Francona, Carl Willis Victimize Indians With Bizarre Bullpen Mix-Up

The Cleveland Indians blew a 4-0 lead in the ninth inning against the Cincinnati Reds on Tuesday, and a bullpen miscommunication was a big factor. It's how they managed to give up SEVEN runs in the 9th inning, part of which can be blamed by a lost-in-translation moment between Indians manager Terry Francona and pitching coach Carl Willis. Suddenly a 4-0 Tribe lead was down to 4-3 with the bases loaded, two down, and Reds left-handed slugger Joey Votto due up. Francona asked Willis to warm up "O.P." in the bullpen, meaning the southpaw Perez.

What was Willis thinking?

As Francona explained after the game, the mishap occurred when he called the bullpen to start warming up the next reliever.


Francona's affinity for nicknames - Perez is "OP;" Otero is "OT" - cost him dearly, too. As we found out after the game, that was not the plan that Francona had intended.

"When I saw OT coming through the gate, it was not the guy I was expecting", Francona said. Cincinnati had seven straight batters reach with two outs, and the inning didn't end until Scooter Gennett ran into the third out at third base on Suarez's single. "I know Carl's beating himself up right now, but that one lands on me". And after Roberto Pérez hit a ball to third that Eugenio Suárez dropped, allowing Cleveland's third run of the game to score, catcher Tucker Barnhart went out to the mound to talk to his pitcher.

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