CLEVELAND — General manager Chris Antonetti said Monday that he sees no reason why manager Manny Acta won’t be back next season.
“I’m very happy with the job Manny’s done,” Antonetti said of the third-year manager under contract through 2013. “Obviously, it’s been certainly a tough road trip, but I think he’s continued to provide very good leadership, not only throughout the road trip, but throughout his tenure here. I certainly think he’s part of the solution and not part of our issues.”
On the heels of a disastrous nine-game road trip (nine losses) that more than likely took the Indians out of playoff contention, Antonetti offered a vote of confidence for Acta. The second-year GM would not give the same assurance to Acta’s coaching staff, which includes pitching coach Scott Radinsky and hitting coach Bruce Fields.
“That’s not where we’re focused right now,” Antonetti said. “We are focused on how do we get the guys here performing better. We’re committed to giving those (coaches) every resource at our disposal to help them be successful.
“We’re all continually evaluated all the time.”
The Indians entered a nine-game trek through Minnesota, Kansas City and Detroit with a 3 1/2-game deficit and on the heels of a series-clinching win over Justin Verlander and the Tigers. They returned from three straight sweepings trailing the first-place White Sox by 9 1/2 games.
“Naturally, it’s been tough,” said Acta, whose club was outscored 74-28 on the nine-game trip. “It’s just shocking that 10 days ago I was here talking to you guys on top of the mountain after that series against the Tigers. All of a sudden we went on that road trip and it was the road trip from whatever word you want to use there. It was unbelievable the amount of runs we allowed and how much went wrong.”
Antonetti actually left open the possibility that he and the front office were to blame for the Indians’ shortcomings this season, possibly overestimating the talent on the club — most notably in the starting rotation.
“I think that’s certainly possible,” he said. “Those are all things we’re going to have to explore. As a team, we’ve not performed to our expectations. We’re in the process of reviewing what may have caused that.”
Starting pitching would be a good place to start, with the Indians employing one of the majors’ worst rotations.
“The inconsistencies of our starting pitching has been a challenge for us for most of the year,” Antonetti said. “Until we can right our starting pitching. It’s going to be difficult for us to sustain any sort of momentum or success.”
The team’s recent play and the front office’s failure to make a substantial move at the trading deadline has drawn the ire of fans, who have flooded talk shows with criticism of Antonetti and Acta.
“I’m sure we’re all exceptionally popular,” Antonetti said sarcastically. “I think to the extent that we let (fan reaction) creep into our decision making, that’s when we have the chance to make bad decisions.
“We are very cognizant of our fans, because I think they want the same things that we want, and that’s to win baseball games. The more games we win, the happier they’ll be and the happier we’ll be, but we haven’t done enough of that so far this year.”
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