CLEVELAND — Acting Indians manager Sandy Alomar Jr. hears from his father, Sandy Alomar Sr., and brother, Roberto Alomar, every single day to offer advice and talk about the season. So, what were his dad’s words of encouragement on Wednesday morning before the Indians took the field against the Yankees
CLEVELAND — Acting Indians manager Sandy Alomar Jr. hears from his father, Sandy Alomar Sr., and brother, Roberto Alomar, every single day to offer advice and talk about the season. So, what were his dad’s words of encouragement on Wednesday morning before the Indians took the field against the Yankees with elimination at stake?
“Score more runs than the other team,” Alomar Jr. recalled, “that’s what he said.”
The Tribe was on the wrong end of a slugfest in Game 1 of the Wild Card Series against the Yankees on Tuesday night. The club’s 12-3 loss was tied for its third-largest postseason defeat in franchise history. But the Indians have no choice but to move on, with this series now presenting the possibility that the club could extend its losing streak in elimination contests to 10 games.
So, the message from father to son before that type of scenario just needed to be short and sweet. It’s a note that comes after many conversations throughout Alomar Jr.’s unexpected journey as a temporary manager of the Tribe after Terry Francona left to address health issues. Alomar Sr. has been along for the ride every step of the way.
“My dad texts me every morning,” Alomar Jr. said. “Morning and night [for] motivation. My dad is awesome. I love my dad. He’s been an inspiration for my life. But since I became a coach, he’s always been, every day, texting motivational speeches and stuff like that.”
Stepping into the managerial role hasn’t been completely foreign to Alomar Jr., who had six games as a temporary skipper already under his belt before this season. He’s had interviews to be a manager in the past but nothing that ever got farther than the early stages of the process. But now that he’s had 46 more regular season games at the helm of a club to add to his résumé, Alomar Jr. still claims that he’s not focused on landing a managerial job.
“I felt like I had a lot of experience before,” Alomar Jr. said. “I played 20 years in the big leagues. I wasn’t in the NFL. So I understand, I do a lot of reading, a lot of sabermetrics, I do all that kind of stuff. I’m on top of all that, too. … Right now, I have a daughter in high school. I’m not bothered if anybody calls me. I don’t need the job. I’m good and set in my life. If somebody’s interested, they can call and we’ll talk. But it’s not like I’m pushing myself or promoting myself to be a manager, no. I don’t have any hidden agendas, let’s put it that way.”
And one thing he’s learned in this process, from experience as a player, coach and manager, is that in a situation like Wednesday night with the season on the line, sometimes it’s best to not say anything to the players before they take the field.
“These guys are professional players. They’re ready to go,” Alomar Jr. said. “They don’t need to hear anything. The less they hear, the better. They know what they have to do. The bottom line is you have to execute. When you have guys at second and third, you have to put the ball in play. Sometimes when you try to go too big, you end up with nothing. Try to do the minimal stuff and sometimes you end up with bigger stuff. Stay in the middle of the field with him. It’s very difficult in professional baseball to have meetings every day. These guys understand the situation.”
Plesac preparing for potential Game 3
The last time Zach Plesac toed the rubber was Thursday against the White Sox. It’ll be a full week before the 25-year-old would be handed the ball again if the Tribe force a third game against the Yankees. Because he’s had extra time on his hands, he’s made sure to get more reps throwing on flat ground, added some more weightlifting and working in some pilates to make sure his body would be ready to go in a win-or-go-home Game 3.
“Man, I’m just attacking every day like I would,” Plesac said. “It’s my job to go out there every single day and continue to get better and make sure I feel sharp day in day out. … Big time players make big time plays in big time games and I live by that. I work every day, day in and day out to get opportunities to pitch in the biggest games. And you know, if I do get a chance to do that, it would be great opportunity for me.”