Acta Had to Play the Hand He Was Dealt With

In poker, each player is dealt a certain number of cards for each round. The cards are randomly passed out and each player has to make the most out of what he or she has been dealt with. Some players are able to make great combinations that work; others simply have to play what is dealt to them.

In baseball, each team has players and the manager is forced to play with the roster he is dealt with. Stats and prospects are used to create combinations that will hopefully put the best team available on the field.

The Indians snapped their 11-game skid earlier today and questions around whether or not manager Manny Acta should be fired have been raised. The Indians management has said that they will support the manager and Acta simply has been playing with the hand he has been dealt with.

The Indians had high hopes and it is easy to blame the manager for the downfall after the All-Star Break. The manager makes the lineup out of the roster he is dealt with and is paid to make the most out of what he has on the bench. Sometimes strategies work; other times things do not go as planned.

Prior to the season starting, the Indians had hoped that the starting pitching would be upgraded with the additional of Derek Lowe. Even though Lowe started off the season strong, inconsistent pitching after the All-Star Break forced the Indians to designate him for assignment. Lowe was older and had decent numbers with Atlanta last season but bringing him in to help the rotation did not go as planned.

In addition to Lowe, other Indians starters have not panned out as well as expected. Josh Tomlin struggled in several starts before being sent to the bullpen, Justin Masterson has not pitched as well as the season before and Ubaldo Jimenez has been inconsistent. With Roberto Hernandez out with immigration problems, Jeanmar Gomez was added to the the rotation but did not work out as the Indians had hoped. Gomez was eventually sent back down to AAA Columbus and the rotation has not worked out as well as the Indians had hoped.

Starting pitching has been a problem for the Indians and having low depth and a weak lineup has not been easy as well. Shin-Soo Choo, Asdrubal Cabrera, Jason Kipnis and Michael Brantley have all been consistent at the plate but there have been other holes in the lineup. Travis Hafner has struggled as the Tribe’s DH this season and his hitting below .250, Jack Hannahan has not been consistent, Carlos Santana has done a lot of free swinging and Casey Kotchman has not provided much of an offensive spark at times. Acta has had to put Hafner, Hannahan, Santana, and Kotchman in the lineup numerous times because those are the players he has been dealt with.

When Grady Sizemore went down with an injury, the Indians signed free agent Johnny Damon to a contract. Damon, who was unsigned in spring training, struggled at the plate and in the field. Damon never caught on and made an offensive spark in the Indians’ lineup and the team eventually designated him for assignment. Damon played often for the Tribe because he was a player Acta had to use to fill the lineup card.

The 11-game losing streak is over and fans will want to point the blame. For the Indians to succeed, they will need to play well with the hands they are dealt with on the roster.

 

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~ by jeffrsabo on August 8, 2012.

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