Indians blow 9th inning lead thanks to classic miscommunication error that sent in the wrong pitcher

Ryan Young
Yahoo Sports Contributor
A simple miscommunication in the dugout caused Indians manager Terry Francona to send in the wrong pitcher in the ninth inning on Tuesday night against the Reds. (Getty Images)

The Cleveland Indians fell to the Cincinnati Reds 7-4 on Tuesday night, giving up all seven runs in the final inning of play.

The issue in the top of the ninth for the Indians can be directed back, nearly entirely, to pitching. But it’s not because manager Terry Francona left reliever Cody Allen in the game too long — well, maybe he did. Allen threw only 19 strikes in 31 pitches and gave up three runs.

The problem was that Francona stumbled when making the call to the bullpen.

Yes, seriously.

With two outs, Francona finally made the call to finally replace Allen and hopefully get out of the inning. Soon after he got pitching coach Carl Willis on the phone, pitcher Dan Otero came running to the mound.

Up comes Reds star Joey Votto — who then hit a three-run RBI double off Otero right on cue to put them up by two. Eugenio Suarez hit Votto in just two batters later, too, giving the Reds the three-run lead and eventually the win.

So why did Otero get the nod? Well, apparently he didn’t.

According to The Athletic’s Zach Meisel, Francona told Willis to call down for “OP” on the bullpen phone, meaning Oliver Perez. Willis, though, heard OT, and made the call for Otero to enter the game.

Meisel is right. You can’t make this stuff up.

That type of mistake is something that happens at a Little League game — or maybe a high school level game on a rough night. A miscommunication like that — especially in the final inning of a game — shouldn’t happen in professional sports.

It’s probably safe to say that the Indians — whose bullpen currently ranks last in the MLB with a 5.37 ERA — are ready for the All Star break.

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