Terry Francona loves his players. He loved them in Boston and he loves them here. He also loves veterans. Of course, we also said the latter about Eric Wedge and who can forget the Brandon Phillips fiasco that I wrote about at the time.
So, here we are. It is early in the season but we will soon forget guys like Colin Cowgill and Dan Otero. Yes, they were just stopgap guys but they either couldn't play or weren't allowed to play. The veterans brought in two years ago were also brought in for their veteran presence but they either couldn't or didn't play, at least not well.
It was written about Francona when he left Boston that he loved his players, covered up for them and, as a result, he lost control of the clubhouse. I am not saying that is what is happening here but what is going on is not good right now. Lonnie Chisenhall should not be in the majors. He should still be rehabbing to find his hitting stroke. But Francona says he trusts Chisenhall that he is ready. Well, all Terry had to do was tune into MiLB.com and fast forward through games to watch Chisenhall at bats. Even I could see he is not ready.
Francona trusts Bryan Shaw, almost beyond reason, based on what he has done earlier this season and this spring. He apparently doesn't trust anyone else because today he asked Cody Allen to go two innings in a non-save situation. The Red Sox finished on a 7-20 tailspin right before Francona got fired in Boston. I am not saying that this is what is happening here but I am starting to see some bad decisions which are costing us games. Cody Anderson who was supposed to keep us from losing games in April is CAUSING us to lose games in April while Trevor Bauer is not helping us in the bullpen and some could say, maybe rightly so, that the reason we lost today was because he couldn't pitch effectively today (he actually was responsible for 3 runs although he was only charged with 2, the other being Anderson's that Bauer walked in!). The stated goal was to have us get a faster start. Neither Anderson or Bauer has helped.
And speaking of helping, early in the season Rajai Davis wasn't and Tyler Naquin was on the bench. Yeah, I know we faced a lot of lefties but Naquin is playing and hitting well now...just like he did in spring training. Francona needs to learn that he is in Cleveland and if you are going to win in Cleveland you have to throw the rookies out there an hope for the best and NOT try to backfill with mediocre or over-the-hill bargain basement free agents.
I still hold to my 3-week old prediction about the Indians this year. However, if they continue to tank against teams they should be beating, the blame will be 100% on Francona. Not because he is the manager but, rather, because he ISN'T managing.