Sunday, May 13, 2007

Is Eric Wedge Yet A Force To Be Reckoned With?


Man-age - to bring about or succeed in accomplishing, sometimes despite difficulty or hardship

Coach - to train intensively (as by instruction and demonstration)

Mo-ti-vate - To provide with an incentive; move to action; impel

Dis-ci-pline - activity, exercise, or a regimen that develops or improves a skill

Eric Wedge is in his 5th season as manager of the Cleveland Indians. Under his leadership, the team posted their 8th highest win total in 2005 with a record of 93 and 69. Going into this season, his managerial record with the Indians is 319 and 329 for a .492 percentage. 2006 was a disappointing season for the team, as well as Wedge as there was much speculation on the club winning the division.
Wedge appears to have a somewhat “laid-back” style of management, displaying great patience with the development of his younger players. He has recently improved on game-time reaction to his pitchers in distress.
The question is, can the Indians compete and make the playoffs this season with Eric Wedge at the controls? As upper management has been diligent in signing talented players to contract extensions and attracting additional talent, can this organization afford not to win now? If this current team fails to make the playoff this season, will it lead to an exodus of coveted players that are at the end of their contract and desire the spotlight of post season play with the end goal of winning the World Series?
The Indians must win their division and strongly compete for the World Series this year. Injuries have weakened the other teams in the division, although Detroit continues to be the biggest hurdle standing between the Indians and the division championship. The team has yet to measure itself against the Red Sox who appear to be the other team in the league that poses a threat to reaching the World Series. The Twins, Yankees, White Sox, and Angels are sure to improve themselves by next season and looking beyond next year, the Devil Rays are building what appears to be a strong and dominating team that is in immediate need of maturity and a solid pitcher or two.
Wedge needs to step it up right now. This team has shown signs of being able to play with and beat the best teams in the league while putting together winning streaks. What they need is discipline to overcome let downs, slumps, and fatigue due to the number of games to be played in consecutive days with the schedule ahead. That discipline needs to include a strict training and exercise regiment to avoid the nagging oblique and leg muscle pulls that have plagued this team year after year.
They need coaching before, during, and after each game. The combination of veterans and new talent is a very good balance. However, the team appears to lose focus and needs constant reminder of the long and short term goals and what is and is not acceptable to reach those goals. Today’s game was highly unacceptable and a gut check is in order immediately. The Indians left 10 runners on base, scored only one run in the first two innings while leaving the bases loaded in both innings, failed to fully capitalize on 3 Oakland errors, and gave up a 5-1 lead eventually giving up 5 runs in the bottom of the 9th inning and losing the game by a score of 10-7. (Here's hoping closer Joe Borowski does not become known as "Joe Blow!")
They need motivation, whether that be from the manager and his staff or from the individual, a call to action apparently will not take place by itself.
They need a manager who is engaged in holding the individuals accountable for their actions that will bring success to the team.
The schedule is favorable to the Indians in the next couple of months if home-field advantage is a true advantage. From now through July, the team will enjoy 44 out of 71 games at home. During that stretch, the mix of average to very good opponents will certainly test the make-up of this team.
It is time for Eric Wedge to raise the bar of expectations for this team. Can he do it? Will he do it? I can’t wait to read the morning paper and see the reaction of today’s sloppy and disappointing loss to the A’s.
Wedge needs to get fired before he gets fired!
He CAN do it but WILL he do it?


Anonymous said...

They are 1 game out of first, give the guy a break!

andrew said...

Here's the deal: Last winter, everybody knew the Indians needed a closer. They went out and got .... Joe Blowoski. Good luck with that.

The Twins have Joe Nathan, the Sox have Bobby Jenks, the Tigers have Todd Jones and Zumaya when he comes back. The Royals have .... great barbeque in Kansas City.

All those guys are all-star closers. The Indians have a former Devil Ray closer. The Oakland game wasn't Wedge's fault. Borowski couldn't hold a 5 run lead, and he's your guy.

I still think Wedge is gonna get fired, and it's a damn shame. The Indians have a guy already on the payroll who's not so laid back: Buck Schowalter. Not that he'll be able to do anything with that awful bullpen.