Alomar learning on the fly: 'I'm not perfect'
Over the past week, Indians acting manager Sandy Alomar Jr. started hearing more criticism of some of his decisions during the team’s eight-game losing streak. His response? “This is the situation I am in, that I wasn’t counting on being [in] this year. I’m learning as we go, brother.” Alomar
Over the past week, Indians acting manager Sandy Alomar Jr. started hearing more criticism of some of his decisions during the team’s eight-game losing streak.
“This is the situation I am in, that I wasn’t counting on being [in] this year. I’m learning as we go, brother.”
Alomar caused some questions to swirl when he decided to leave in starter Shane Bieber to try to finish the eighth inning of Thursday’s 10-3 win. Bieber had walked Derek Hill on his 114th pitch of the night to put two on with two outs and the Tribe leading 10-0 at that point. Willi Castro followed with a three-run homer on pitch No. 118 to end Bieber’s night.
“As I learn, we try to make decisions as a group,” Alomar said. “There’s times you question yourself, you say, ‘Yeah, I’m a human being, what the heck?’ … Yes, I do evaluate myself. I’m not perfect. People have valid points. I’m not critiquing people who are critiquing me. I’m just saying that, when you’re in the dugout, things play out a little different at times.”
Alomar had gone 17-9 since he began filling in for Terry Francona before the team’s eight-game losing streak. And while the Indians still have no timetable for Francona’s return, the idea of getting him back in the dugout before the end of the year has yet to be taken off the table. In the meantime, Alomar continues to get feedback from everyone he can when he’s making his day-to-day decisions.
“It’s a collaborative effort,” Indians president of baseball operations Chris Antonetti said. “Ultimately, Sandy makes the decision on what the lineup looks like, but he’s been extraordinary about getting input from everybody. From front office, coaches, support staff, everybody. Anyone who would have something meaningful to contribute to the discussion, Sandy’s engaged them. But it’s ultimately been his decision to make.”
Alomar has joked a few times about getting Francona back with the team, noting that the squad is like a car running low on gas on the highway and Francona is the gas station. But while Alomar remains at the helm, he’s dedicated to rewatching games and learning from each of his decisions.
“I evaluate things,” Alomar said. “Sometimes I watch the games on the Roku box and see things from a different angle. … But at the end of the day, yes, it doesn’t matter how much you played or how much baseball you watched, if you haven’t done the practice as much, it tends to get fast.”
Upcoming rotation plans
Bieber is slated to start Tuesday against the White Sox and his next turn would then be on the final day of the regular season. But with the team expecting to move on to the Wild Card Series, it’s likely he’ll be held for Game 1. Cleveland, however, is not ready to look ahead until it clinches a postseason berth.
“We got to get in, man,” Alomar said. “Everybody would love to have Bieber leading off the postseason, but you have to make sure that you get in and everybody gets the proper work. These games are very important because you want to make sure that if you win, you can align guys right away. But to this point, we’ve got to continue playing the season. Hopefully, within the next three or four days, we’ll have a better picture of the situation.”
The Indians entered Friday’s game as the No. 7 seed in the eight-team American League postseason field. They were a game ahead of the No. 8-seed Blue Jays and five games clear of the Mariners.
New prospects settling in well at Lake County
The Tribe has gotten familiar with righty Cal Quantrill, outfielder Josh Naylor and backstop Austin Hedges since they acquired the trio at the Trade Deadline in exchange for Mike Clevinger and Greg Allen.
Just down the road in Lake County, Ohio, the Indians have received reports that the three other prospects acquired in the deal — Gabriel Arias, Joey Cantillo and Owen Miller — have also begun settling in well at the team’s alternate training site. The Indians remain optimistic that those three will be able to make an impact at the big league level over the next few seasons.
“They’ve acclimated really well,” Antonetti said. “They had a chance to transition to our alternate site and start to work with our coaches. As any new player into the organization, we want make sure we take a chance to get to know them, understand their experiences, understand their strengths and how they work. And then partner with them to build a plan to help them continue to grow and improve. We’ve been encouraged by the way those guys have transitioned into the organization and we’re excited for them to now be Cleveland Indians.”
Mandy Bell covers the Indians for MLB.com. Follow her on Twitter at @MandyBell02.