The bullpen has been a major strength for the Indians this season. As a unit, the 'pen has been dependable and consistent, and it's a big reason why Cleveland has the best record in the American League.
However, the relievers have been taxed to the extreme in the last two games, both extra-inning, one-run affairs. The second of those was a 2-1 loss to the Angels in 11 innings Friday night.
On Thursday in Oakland, the Indians won 4-3 in 12 innings. That game was particularly hard on the bullpen, to the point that manager Manny Acta was trying not to use closer Chris Perez on Friday.
Acta didn't have to worry about making a decision on whether to use the right-hander, however, because the Indians never got a late-inning lead. Justin Germano gave up a run on four consecutive hits in the bottom of the 11th inning to take the loss.
Germano was the last of four relievers Cleveland used in the game. On Thursday, Acta used six relievers. Germano was the only reliever not used in the finale at Oakland.
In those two games, Indians relievers made a total of 10 appearances
However, overuse of the bullpen isn't the team's biggest concern at the moment. In the first four games of the trip to face the stingy pitching staffs of the A's and Angels, the Indians have scored a total of just 10 runs.
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