Thursday, June 17, 2010

Rebuilding is in the eye of the beholder

On more than one occasion, Indians manager Manny Acta has said following a game, usually a loss, that the Indians have to play a near perfect game in order to win. That's true. It's also unfortunate, because even the best teams rarely play a perfect game. The Indians are one of the worst teams, so you can reduced the chances of them playing a perfect game accordingly.

Because of the lack of talent on their roster, the Indians have almost no margin of error when it comes to trying to win games. Their pitching has to be near-flawless, their hitting has to be timely and productive, and their defense has to be error-free. All three of those things rarely happen on the same night, so it's no surprise that the Indians lose on most nights, and that they are in last place.

I think back to the day Acta was hired. He was asked how the Indians' situation compared to that of the team he had managed the previous 2 1/2 years, the Washington Nationals. Acta refused to even acknowledge that the Indians were rebuilding. He emphasized that the Indians had way more talent on hand than did the Nationals. I wonder now, nearly halfway through his first season as manager, how Acta views the talent level of the team he is managing.

With two starters, Grady Sizemore and Asdrubal Cabrera, out for the year (Sizemore) or for much of the year (Cabrera), what's left of the Indians really does resemble an expansion team. On most nights their lineup includes a few veterans sprinkled in with several young players trying to establish themselves at the major league level. The Indians' entire pitching staff fits that profile.

Occasionally they will come close to playing nearly perfect, and they'll win that game. More often, though, they will play like the young and inexperienced team that they mostly are, and they will lose those games.

That, essentially, is what expansion baseball looks like. That is what a rebuilding team looks like, and whether Acta wants to admit it or not, that's what the Indians are.


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