Indians keeping Chris Perez at closer

David Richard-USA TODAY Sports

Cleveland will stick with Perez in the ninth despite his recent struggles.

The Cleveland Indians are adamant that they will not replace struggling closer Chris Perez for the final week of the regular season, reports Dennis Manoloff of the Plain Dealer.

Manager Terry Francona didn't mince words when asked about issue Wednesday:

"Can you imagine if, every time somebody gave up a homer, we went to somebody else?'' Francona said. "If we just automatically went to somebody else, we wouldn't have a team. I wouldn't want to play for that guy...

"If you react to one game or an inning, you can upset a lot of what's so good in there.'

Perez, 28, gave up two solo homers to the White Sox in the ninth Tuesday, blowing his fifth save of the year and putting the Indians in jeopardy of losing their footing in the AL Wild Card race. The Tribe eventually won the game on a walk-off blast from elder statesman Jason Giambi, but the outing still raised doubts about Perez's future.

The right-hander has a 3.71 earned-run average in 53⅓ innings on the year, but his performance the last two months has left a lot to be desired. In his last 20 appearances -- dating back to Aug. 3 -- Perez owns a 5.95 ERA in 19⅓ innings. The six long balls he's allowed in that short span equals his season total from last year.

The Indians are currently sitting in second Wild Card position, a game behind the Rays and ahead of the Rangers. They finish their season with a three-game set vs. the Twins, against whom Perez has already blown one save this year.

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