Give Francona Credit
As a long-time fan of the Cleveland Indians, I must say that I have been very impressed and quite pleased by the team’s on-field performance to date in the current 2019 Major League Baseball season. As the tribe at this writing enjoyed a 50-38 win-loss record, as of the 2019 MLB game which was held in Cleveland on July 9, 2019. This is in spite of the Indians parting ways with no fewer than 13 critical players from the previous season, when the Tribe posted a 91-71record, while reigning as Central Division champions of the American League.
Critical players from the Indians’ successful 2018 season, who have since departed, included: Edwin Encarnacion, Michael Brantley, Yonder Alonso, Josh Donaldson, Yan Gomez and Melky Cabrera, position players; as well as pitchers Cody Allen, Andrew Miller and Josh Tomlin, with only one player of significance being added to their roster during the offseason, name American League all-stay Carlos Santana, who returned to the Tribe in a trade.
In 2018, the Indians finished second in the American League with a .259 batting average, and fourth in pitching with a 3.77 earned run average. Whereas in 2019, the Indians are 11th in the American League with a .243 batting average and third in pitching with a 9.94 team earned run average, thus far.
In addition, the Indians have been forced to deal with a number of discouraging, debilitating injuries to key members of their pitching staff, namely Corey Kluber, Carlos Carrasco, and Mike Clevinger, after having combined for a 50-25 win-loss record during the previous season, but in spite of all this misfortune, the Indians remain legitimate play-off and division championship contenders to date.
All considered, the Tribe has been surprisingly competitive, and I attribute of their on-field performance and success thus far to their excellent field manager, Terry Francona, who has served the Indians in that capacity with an outstanding record of 545-425, a winning percentage of 56.2, being the American League Central Division Champions in 2016, 2017 and 2018, appearing in the 2016 World Series, losing to the Chicago Cubs 4 games to 3.
Hopefully, the Cleveland Indians will continue to “over perform” and make it to post-season play, following completion of the regular season. If so, I feel strongly that manager Terry Francona should, without question, receive very serious consideration for American League Manager of the Year accolades.