BALTIMORE: Managers do what managers have to do.
Two days ago, manager Manny Acta said it was unnecessary to call a team meeting just because the Indians had lost four in a row. Only in the case of a “lack of effort, something like that,” would he feel compelled to summon his troops for a get-together.
“We talk to these guys [individually] before every series,” Acta said. “But this time, it was the whole team.”
After losing five in a row, including Wednesday’s 5-4 loss to the New York Yankees on Wednesday, Acta addressed his players before they went out to face the Baltimore Orioles on Thursday night at Camden Yards. Acta didn’t call everyone together to yell at them. This was a pep talk.
“I talked to the guys,” Acta said. “I wanted to make sure they realized it’s a long season, a roller-coaster ride. A week ago we were in first place. So it’s about staying positive and staying together. We don’t want anyone to panic or try to do too much.”
When teams stumble, there is a tendency for players to try to make every bat end in a five-run homer. Not only can’t it be done, but also the kind of stress that triggers such an attitude usually causes a negative result.
“Every team goes through this kind of thing,” Acta said. “Some teams did it earlier in the season. And it’s going to happen more than once. This is normal, but it’s been blown out of proportion. We’ve lost five in a row, but just before that we won four in a row.
“We ran into some good pitching. But we played better in the last game in New York, and that’s something to build on.”
In losing two to the Astros and all three at Yankee Stadium, the Indians were outscored 33-11 and were held to one run three times. But during the losing streak, the Tribe’s longest of the season, both the hitting and pitching misfired at various times.
Asked if there were one thing he could change instantly, Acta said, “I wish we would score a bunch of runs in one game so everybody would get a chance to relax.”
Sheldon Ocker can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Read the Indians blog at https://ohio.com/indians. Follow him on Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/SheldonOckerABJ and on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/sports.abj.