The Cleveland Indians lost their 10th straight game last night to the Minnesota Twins by a score of 14-3. A ten run second inning by the Twins left me wondering why anyone in the announced crowd of 18,775 was still at the game. I Tweeted about a free beer possibility as well as and idea for a new ticket promotion.
This Tribe is a train out of control with no one capable of being a conductor. The “What If” marketing program went form being disliked to hated, especially now, during the second straight year of a total collapse by the team. When watching the games and listening to the excuses put forth by Manager Manny Acta and General Manager Chris Antonetti, one word comes to mind: “WHATEVER.”
Forget “What If.” Last week, I wrote about “What Must Be.” At this point, the Tribe is beyond frustrating and the best slogan is one word: ‘WHATEVER.”
The “What If” campaign would have been great if there was reason to believe “What If” for the future. There is not. The entire campaign is based on the past; so much so that the Indians will honor a player that will likely have spent more time not in a Tribe uniform than in one, Jim Thome, with a statue. I love Thome, but that is a joke, and so are the Indians.
10 And Counting
During this ten game losing streak, which included a Indians’ history-making 0-9 road trip, the Tribe was outscored 88-31 and was swept by the two teams below them in the AL Central, Minnesota (who may get another sweep) and Kansas City. The Indians DFA’d two “key” free agents, Derek Lowe and Johnny Damon and moved Josh Tomlin from the rotation to the bullpen.
The pitching staff is now at the bottom of the AL in ERA and only ahead of Houston and Colorado in the NL. The starters have averaged only 4.19 innings during the streak, including 2.1 from Lowe in his last game and Zach McAllister’s 1.2 outing last night.
The Indians were 14-67 (.210) with Runners In Scoring Position. They left 59 runners on bases. The overall team Batting Average is now .253 with Michael Brantley leading the way at .293.
The Buck Stops Where?
In most cases, the first person to be blamed for a team collapsing in a given year is the manager. Repeat collapses should definitely lead to a firing, right? This may not be the case in Cleveland. Antonetti was supportive and chose his words carefully when discussing Acta on 92.3 The Fan last week.
In an interview yesterday with the Plain Dealer’s Paul Hoynes (@Hoynsie), Antonetti staunchly defended Acta. The loyalty, while appreciated, should be unwarranted. However, this is Cleveland.
The blame isn’t all Acta’s. He’s made mistakes, and his reluctance to leave the dugout to argue calls or defend players is questionable. Nevertheless, he has no talent to manage. The roster is abysmal. No manager could win with this team.
That leads me to Antonetti. Does he defend Acta, because he knows that the talent is atrocious? I would expect a GM with confidence in a team he put together to not emphatically defend the manager. So, what’s going on?
The 25 Man Roster is horrible outside of Chris Perez, Vinny Pestano and Shin-S00 Choo. The minor league teams are lacking legitimate MLB talent. Who is too blame? Is the problem Antonetti? Is everything President Mark Shapiro’s fault?
No. The blame lies with Larry Dolan. He appears to not be committed to winning a World Series. He hasn’t spent the money required, throughout the organization, to make the Indians legitimate.
I’ve written before about how the Tribe can fill Progressive Field as they did in the days of the 455 consecutive sell-outs, when the shrine at the corner of Carnegie and Ontario was named Jacobs Field. The Indians can become a national leader in merchandise sales. They can generate the revenue required to maintain a respectable payroll.
However, Mr. Dolan must take the first step. He must spend money to make money. More importantly, he must spend money to win a World Series.