Perez urges Indians 'mates to 'step up'

Perez urges Indians 'mates to 'step up'

Perez urges Indians 'mates to 'step up'
CLEVELAND -- The Indians have six weeks left to turn the page on their recent struggles. It has been a damaging stretch for a Cleveland club that was in contention only a month ago, but the players understand there is time left to shift their focus.

That said, Indians closer Chris Perez does not think the team can completely erase what has taken plan over the past four weeks.

"I don't think you can wash it all away; it was too stinging," Perez said. "To be right there and then not lose because of injuries or stuff like we did last year, it's tough to take. At the same time, we've got 35 games to find out what we have for next year. Guys can step up and impress our staff.

"We've got some young guys in the rotation that need to show them what they've got, trying to get a spot for next year. It's the same with position players. ... There's a lot of stuff we can do moving forward, looking at next year."

Cleveland sat 3 1/2 games out of first place in the American League Central on July 26 but then suffered losing streaks of 11 games and nine games in a 26-game span. Now, entering Sunday's game with the Yankees, the Indians faced a 15 1/2-game hole in the division and was only four games ahead of the Twins for the worst record in the AL.

"I'll never forget about this season for the rest of my career," Perez said. "For me personally, yeah, this is going to go back into my bank. I'll be like, 'I don't ever want to get there again. How did it get to this? How did it get to 11 in a row? How'd it get to nine in a row?' Me personally, yeah, it'll help me out in the future.

"As a team? I don't know. It's hard. Because you're in the middle of a streak, it doesn't mean you come to the park trying to do something different. You try to win every game. We were losing all different ways -- bad starting pitching, bad hitting, bad bullpen, errors, walks. Everything. Home runs. You name it, and we found a way to lose.

"If anything, if we come out here and have a good September, we can say, 'Look, we went through the worst you can go through, and we bounced back and we're professionals.' At the end of the day, that's our job."