That Terry Francona guy. He’s pretty good.
Though it’s just our nature as Indians fans to always overreact to the momentary blips as the official WORST THING EVER, he was the one guy who remained stoic through the noise. While we were certain Ubaldo Jimenez would never everevereverevereverevereverEH-VER be the guy we thought we were getting, Tito (and, possibly more directly, Mickey Callaway) stuck with him. And here we are, with a question of where would the Indians be without him?
The eight-game losing streak in early June and six-game streak in August, which included the crushing four-game sweep by Detroit, conjured grisly memories of the soul-sucking collapse of last season. While we sweated, the malaise barely registered to Francona. “We’re gonna find out who we are,” he said. He believed even when we were struggling to find the reasons to. I think we know who and what the Indians are now.
Justin Masterson strains his oblique muscle. We freak out. Francona doesn’t even blink in putting his trust in Corey Kluber, Zach McAllister and the prodigious Danny Salazar to keep us afloat. And the remade Bullpen Mafia has been more along the lines of what we’ve come to expect. Terry believed.
This team may be his finest work. A limited budget. A mostly apathetic fanbase. Lowered expectations. The media barely paid attention. He went to work quietly with this team of mostly B-level talent and got them to believe; to grind in a way that Eric Wedge would be proud of. While Manny Acta never bothered to figure out what worked, Tito knew the precise buttons to push for each and every one of his troops.
And now comes the most important part of his shepherding: Making sure that the success of the team doesn’t make it easy to overlook the Astros, White Sox, or Twins en route to a potential showdown with the Rays or Rangers. Tito knows that the playoffs has, in effect, already started. The Indians are six games away from potentially shocking the baseball world.
You want to know the perfect example of this man’s master touch? Look no further than the Matt Carson who has come up producing nearly every time he gets an opportunity.
Terry Francona is pretty good. He’s been everything we could’ve wanted.
Now it’s time for his troops to repay him in the only way he deserves.