Chris Antonetti backs Manny Acta
CLEVELAND -- Indians general manager Chris Antonetti expressed support for manager Manny Acta and his coaching staff following the least successful trip in the franchise's 112-year history.
Cleveland went 0-9 at Minnesota, Kansas City and Detroit, ending the trip with a 10-8 loss to the Tigers on Sunday when All-Star closer Chris Perez gave up five runs with two outs in the 10th inning.
Cleveland trailed Chicago by 3½ games when the trip began and went into Monday 9½ games behind the AL Central-leading White Sox.
Antonetti spoke to reporters prior to Monday night's game against the Twins. Asked if Acta, who is signed through 2013, would return next season, he said, "I have no reason to think otherwise. I'm very happy with the job Manny's done. Obviously, this has been a very tough road trip, but he's continued to provide very good leadership. I certainly think he's part of the solution, not part of our issues."
Antonetti isn't contemplating any changes in the coaching staff.
"That's not where we're focused right now," he said. "We're focused on how do we get the guys here to perform better."
Antonetti admitted the losing streak that has knocked the Indians out of the race in the AL Central has been a team-wide freefall.
"In some cases it was starting pitching, in some cases it was offense and in a couple of other cases it was the bullpen," he said.
The Indians completed their most recent homestand with a comeback win against Tigers ace Justin Verlander, but any hope of momentum was buried in the team-wide collapse. The Indians were outscored 74-28 on the trip and lost six games to the Royals and Twins, the two worst teams in the league.
"I don't think we foresaw losing nine consecutive games," Antonetti said. "It's important to turn the page. There's nothing we can do about the road trip. It's over. We need to focus on what we can control -- playing better baseball and moving forward."
Antonetti said he and his staff perhaps over-evaluated the team's talent level when the season began.
"That's certainly possible," he said. "Those are all things we're going to have to explore. As a team, we have not performed to our expectations and we're in the process of reviewing what may have caused that."
This season's team hasn't been a hit with fans despite leading the division in April and May. The Indians are last in the league in attendance and have been the target of criticism on local radio talk shows during the current slump.
"I'm sure we're all exceptionally popular," Antonetti said with a laugh.
Copyright 2012 by The Associated Press