CLEVELAND: After the Indians took two of three from the Detroit Tigers 10 days ago, firing manager Manny Acta was the farthest from anyone’s thoughts.
But in the wake of the first nine-loss trip in the history of the franchise, fans and talk show hosts have made Acta’s dismissal a hot topic. General Manager Chris Antonetti tried to quell the call for Acta’s head when he answered a question about the manager’s future.
Will Acta be back next year?
“I have no reason to think otherwise,” Antonetti said Monday. “We’re very happy with the job Manny has done. It was a tough trip, but Manny has provided the proper leadership. He is part of the solution; he is not part of the problem.”
When asked if any or all of the coaches’ jobs were in danger, Antonetti wasn’t quite so fierce in their defense.
“All of us are focused on finding a solution for making these guys successful,” Antonetti said. “[Whether the coaches will return] is not what we’re focused on. All of us are evaluated all the time, and that’s something that is more for the end of the year.”
Antonetti didn’t think there was an overall defect that caused the nine-game losing streak on the road.
“I don’t think it’s fair to ascribe an overriding reason,” he said. “There were a variety of reasons. … But it’s important for us to turn the page. The road trip is over.”
In talking about the toll the streak has taken on the club, Acta said, “It’s part of the game. It’s only a fraction of the season but it’s been tough. Last year, the toughest part was dealing with so many guys getting hurt.
“But it’s been shocking that 10 days ago we were talking to you guys about being on the top of the mountain.”
Sunday’s 8-5 loss to the Tigers was a crushing defeat, inasmuch as Chris Perez let a three-run lead get away in the 10th inning for only his third blown save of the season.
“Yesterday was deflating because of the way these guys went after it,” Acta said. “Chris is one of the best closers in the game. If anybody can bounce back, it will be him. He can shake it off. He’s going to have his failures here and there, but he’s one of the best, so he’ll be fine.”
The question might be whether the loss has a lingering effect on the rest of the team.
“It’s tough to measure how guys will handle it,” Acta said. “A lot of people can handle it. But you have to make sure that the other people stay upbeat. The coaching staff gets a lot of credit for doing that. It’s about showing up with the same face and doing the same things every day.”
Sheldon Ocker can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Read the Indians blog at http://www.ohio.com/indians. Follow him on Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/SheldonOckerABJ and on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/sports.abj.