Appreciative Inquiry is a hands-on organizational development method that focuses on assets or strengths. Instead of asking “What’s wrong here?”, it asks “What’s right here and how can we build on it?” After last night’s game, which the Indians lost to the Diamondbacks 6-4 with a pinch-hit, two-out home run in the bottom of the 9th by Wily Mo Pena (a seriously great name, even if he is on the Dbacks), I decided to take a strengths-based approach to thinking about the game. After all, why fall into the standard Indians’ fan trap of catastrophizing every loss and griping about how the boys have failed us yet again? I want to look at what seems to be working.
1. Josh Tomlin is a stud. Okay, that’s a simplification. He pitched seven really fine innings, giving up only two runs, no walks, and recording four strikeouts. He went two-for-two with an RBI, including laying down a very respectable bunt on his first-ever major league at bat. And he picked off a runner at second base. The fact that the runner was Dbacks pitchers Daniel Hudson, who had just doubled off him, made it that much sweeter. In a lot of ways, Tomlin’s proven himself to be reliable pitcher. And his approach at the plate last night says something about him too. He wasn’t overly aggressive but he didn’t shy away from digging in, finding a pitch, and getting the job done. He’s a strength on which the Indians can build. (He’s on a one-year contract for 2011 (making $417,000, which is just over the league minimum. Um, let’s sign him to something a little longer please. )
2. Travis Buck acquitted himself nicely in right field. While he doesn’t quite have Choo’s rocket launcher of an arm, he’s doing okay. He also had some heads-up base running in the top of the 9th with a nice double and then moving to third on a passed ball. I don’t think he’s a long-term solution, but I like that he pays attention.
3. Travis Hafner may not have the power he once did, but God bless him, he gets on base. In a pinch, we can still rely on him.
4. Lonnie Chisenhall went 1-4 in his second major league game. Did he choke in the top of the 9th with a man in scoring position? Yeah. Is he showing himself able to hit major league pitching and play a decent third base from the get-go? Also yeah. You know why he’s wearing shades in this picture, right? His future’s so bright, it’s a necessity.
5. I’ve been kind of down on Carlos Santana lately, as he’s struggled at the plate most of this season and is only hitting .225. But he still has the ability to make the big play when it’s needed. I couldn’t scream and yell when he hit his two-run shot in the top of the 9th because I didn’t want to wake my kid and my husband, but I did jump up and down making quiet little cheering noises that sound like gasps. The dogs thought I was having a panic attack or a seizure or something.
See, don’t you feel better now?