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In Cleveland, hope dies last

Archive for the category “Manny Acta”

What’s the next move Paul?

The Cleveland Indians fired manager Manny Acta on Thursday with just six games remaining in the season.

“The Cleveland Indians would like to thank Manny Acta for everything he has done for the organization in his three seasons as our manager,” general manager Chris Antonetti said. “Manny’s passion for the game, positive attitude and tremendous knowledge of baseball helped guide us to a number of high points during his tenure.

“Managerial changes are never easy or taken lightly, but as we approached the end of the season and turned our attention to assessing the year, we determined a change was necessary.”

Read more…

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Please leave now if you still think Matt LaPorta “needs a chance”

If there are any Cleveland Indians fans who still think Matt LaPorta just “needs a chance” to show what he can do, then we don’t know what to tell them.

Because if Tuesday night’s game didn’t convince them that LaPorta is simply not a Major League ballplayer, then we don’t know what will.

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Damon out; free fall continues for the Tribe

The Cleveland Indians designated 38-year-old Johnny Damon for assignment on Friday, one day after doing the same with 39-year-old Derek Lowe.

Maybe the two of them can talk about it while enjoying the early bird at phase three of the Del Boca Vista condos.

The Tribe signed Damon in mid-April and he hit .222 in 64 games with the team while playing an entertaining (but not always in a good way) left field.

“We had to make a tough decision,” Indians manager Manny Acta said. “Johnny is just first class. He made an impact on a lot of people here, despite not performing the way he was expecting and how we were expecting. I can only imagine how much impact he could’ve made here if he would’ve performed better.”

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Tribe still struggling with a Detroit hangover

Much like a businessman on a long weekend in Las Vegas, the Cleveland Indians have enjoyed themselves while facing the Detroit Tigers this season.

It’s the morning after that hasn’t been so much fun.

The Tribe is 7-2 this year against the $119 million-payroll Tigers, but have had to deal with a major hangover after each series.

How the Tribe can look so good against a team that was penciled in to the playoffs before the season started and then stumble and bumble around for the next week?

We answer that question and more at The Cleveland Fan.

(Photo by The Plain Dealer)

Tribe rotation hitting a Lowe point

Another day, another disappointing outing from a starting pitcher for the Cleveland Indians.

Friday night it was Derek Lowe’s turn, as the veteran gave up nine earned runs, five walks and two home runs in just three innings of work in the Tribe’s 10-2 loss to Baltimore.

This is getting old.

Lowe’s outing is just the latest in a series of starts that make him look like the pitcher who went 4-10 with a 6.20 ERA after the All-Star break last season with Atlanta.

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Is Manny Acta a Good Manager?

Is Manny Acta a good manager? And, if so, how can we tell?

Or maybe he is not a target for fans because he coaches a team that doesn’t wear Orange and Brown?

We answer these questions and more at The Cleveland Fan.

The Song Remains the Same for Tribe

Things seemed oddly familiar on Saturday when the Cleveland Indians took on Toronto.

Strong solid pitching? Check.

Ubaldo Jimenez carried a no-hitter into the seventh inning and left the game after pitching seven innings of one-hit, two-run ball.

“One of the main keys was that I was throwing my breaking pitches for strikes,” Jimenez told The Beacon Journal. “I think as I went along, that is what worked. I was able to throw every one of my breaking pitches for strikes. Carlos Santana called a great game. Whatever he put down, I went with that.”

We never doubted Jimenez for a moment.

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Tribe so close to a perfect day

It was so close to being the perfect game for the Cleveland Indians in Thursday’s home opener against Toronto.

But in the end it all fell apart.

For eight innings the game played out exactly the way the Indians wanted it, showcasing the blueprint for how the Tribe will have to play to win this year.

Justin Masterson was sublime while working eight innings of two-hit, 10-strikeout baseball; his only mistake a solo homerun ball given up to Jose Bautista. Hey, no shame in that.

A three-run homer by Opening Day superstar Jack Hannahan (the third in his career) in the second inning was the key hit the Indians were looking for in building a four-run lead after two innings.

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A whole week of the other 42

Early in the season, Indians manager Manny Acta pointed out that every team wins 60 games and loses 60 games – it’s what you do with the other 42 that count.

Well, we’ve just spent quite the week learning about those other 42 and it hasn’t been good news for the Tribe.

Tuesday night it was Jarrod Saltalamacchia scoring from second on a single in the bottom of the night to beat the Indians. Wednesday, it was a Jacoby Ellsbury home run with two outs in the ninth.

But that was nothing compared to Friday night.

The Indians blew leads of 3-0, 6-2 and 7-2 before finally falling to the Rangers in extra innings as Elvis Andrus somehow scored from second base on a ground ball to shortstop in the bottom of the 11th.

There was plenty of blame to go around Friday night.

The offense shut down after the third inning.

Closer Chris Perez gave up a two-out, game-tying two run homer to Michael Young in the bottom of the ninth.

Rafael Perez threw a wild pitch – the Indians second on the night – in the 11th to allow Andrus to get into scoring position.

Then there was Matt LaPorta.

On Andrus’ game-winning score, LaPorta fielded Asbrubal Cabrera’s throw which just missed nailing a sliding Josh Hamilton for the third out. LaPorta looked at first base umpire Derryl Cousins before throwing to the plate, and that split second allowed Andrus time to score.

LaPorta’s ongoing lack of baseball sense proved costly – and was not missed by Acta.

“You catch the ball and throw home,” Acta said in published reports. “You don’t worry about whether the guy is going to be safe or out, you come off the bag and you throw home — that’s the winning run. That’s what you do.”

Acta has to take his share of the blame as well.

With two on and one out in the 10th, Acta let Shelley Duncan – back on the team because Jack Hannahan is on paternity leave – bat rather than pinch-hit Travis Hafner.

Duncan had homered in the third inning and had two hits on the night, so expecting him to come through again was really pushing the odds. Predictably, Duncan hit into a double play.

“It was a complete day off for Travis,” Acta said. “Hafner shouldn’t even have been a temptation in the 10th. We should have won it in the ninth.”

We get that you want to give someone a day off, but shouldn’t the game situation play a role in your decision? Last night was not Actaball at its finest.

The Indians are now four back of the Tigers, having lost three games in the standings over the past 10. The season isn’t lost by any means, but things are starting to get serious.

With the Tigers coming to town next week for three games, the Tribe really can’t afford to fall any further back in the standings than they already are.

As it is, they are looking at needing a sweep next week because, even if they take two-of-three, that only shaves one game off the deficit.

After the way this week played out, it’s getting harder and harder to see that happening.

(Photo by The Associated Press)

Is staying the course an option?

Top of the fifth inning … two outs … Chris Iannetta, the No. 9 hitter at the plate … Tribe leading 4-1 … Fausto Carmona melts down … and by the time the inning is over the Indians trail 7-4.

Carmona’s outing Monday night against Colorado brought about a (NSFW) reaction from Tribe fans everywhere that is certainly understandable.

After the game, the response about what to do about Carmona’s ongoing struggles was less cohesive.

One person who is clear about Carmona’s future is manager Manny Acta – and his opinion is really the only one that counts.

“He’s pitching in five days,” Acta said in published reports. “That’s the solution we have here. You can’t just get rid of him and bring somebody else in here.

“The ability to make a pitch when it counts just hasn’t been there. I don’t know if I can attribute that to a lack of focus. In this case, you’ve got two outs. … You do have to smell blood and get after those guys and get out of that inning.”

But is staying the course really the best option for the Indians as they try to stay in first place? Is the Tribe really prepared to put the pitcher with the highest ERA among American League starters back on the mound Sunday night against San Francisco?

It would be one thing if this was an isolated incident, but Carmona shows no signs of becoming a functional starting pitcher any time soon.

Per Sheldon Ocker in the Beacon Journal, in his past eight starts, Carmona has posted an 8.87 earned-run average, given up 12 hits per nine innings and one home run every 41/3 innings. His record over this span is 1-6.

The Indians are obviously not going to release Carmona; that would be ridiculous. They can’t send him to the minors without his permission. But they can move him to the bullpen and let him try to sort things out away from a situation that will cost the Indians a game.

“I don’t feel like I did in 2009,” Carmona said. “Talking about the fundamental side, I feel fine. I’m working. I’m doing stuff. I’m making pitches. I’m not getting the results I want, but I don’t feel like I felt in 2009.”

Of course, if Carmona keeps pitching the way he has been lately, he will make the choice a pretty simple one for Acta.

***

This is easily the best thing we read today, and probably one of the best things we’ve read in a while.

The SummerHoopScoop blog created a fake college basketball recruiter to disseminate information and see if people would believe it just because it sounded credible.

And boy did it work.

The blog exposed the nonsense spewed by self-proclaimed “experts” and highlighted that subset of fans who have an unhealthy interest in the recruiting of high school athletes.

Well played indeed.

(h/t to Deadspin)

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