Other than the debacle that was the hitting coach situation, you cannot say enough about what the Indians coaching staff had done with this young, impressionable, 2011 squad. They entered the season picked by almost everyone to finish no better than fourth in the AL Central. Yet, before the season, manager Manny Acta threw down the gauntlet: “We expect to win.”
I loved hearing that from the skipper, even though I was under the same impression as so many of you were – this would be a rebuilding year, pointing towards 2012-2013 for a real shot at contention.
Instead, the Indians raced out to a 30-15 record before ending the season 80-82. The second place finish was better than expected and even the casual Tribe fan interested the whole way through. For that, Acta’s fourth year option for 2013 was picked up. It seemed like a no-brainer to me. Despite the injuries to their best offensive pieces throughout the season, the Tribe hung with the Tigers for the first five months with a payroll half of what their biggest competitor’s was. They never stopped playing hard for their skipper and the team’s chemistry was as good as we have seen since the 2007 team that finished a game shy of the World Series. [Read more...]