ERIC: The Cleveland Indians had a good start to the 2012 season. They have a young team, but they also have some talented players. Fans had high hopes coming into the season this year; the 2011 edition finished the season with an 80-82 record, and seemed to be coming on.
On July 31 of this year, the Indians were 50-53, and were sitting in third place, just six games out of first place. They were young, competitive, and interesting to watch.
And then the wheels came off.
The Tribe posted a 5-24 record for the month of August, dropping to 55-77, in fourth place, and headed toward the basemen. In so doing, the Indians tied a franchise record for worst month on record, tying the 1914 edition of the Indians for most losses in a single month (the 1914 Tribe finished 51-102, and were THE worst team in Major League Baseball that season). The Indians became the 46th ream since 1921 to lose at least 24 games in a single calendar month. The Houston Astros also lost 24 games in August, meaning that this is the first year since 1982 that two teams chalked up 24 losses in a single month. Their loss on Friday night was the team’s fifth straight. “It’s been a really tough month for all of us,” said pitcher Ubaldo Jimenez, with great understatement, “so we can’t wait until [September].”
“You can lose a lot in a month, but we lost a lot in just a couple of periods of time–big losing streaks that we didn’t have throughout the first four months here,” said manager Manny Acta. The Tribe’s 5-24 August ties the 1982 New York Mets and the 1961 Washington Senators for the worst record in the month of August since 1944, meaning that this team has gained baseball immortality resulting from its inability to score runs or get hitters out.
Over their last 68 games ending on August 31, the Tribe managed to his just .194 with runners in scoring position while the team’s starting rotation posted a pathetic 6.47 mark, the worst in the majors over that period of time. Hence, the losing month comes as no real surprise.
Fortunately, it will take a really epic collapse by the Indians for them to match the atrociousness of their 1991 edition, which lost 105 games, the team record (one of the teams profiled in the book version of You Stink!); if they win only 3 more games the rest of the season, they will avoid that fate. Nevertheless, this team has been a tremendous disappointment, and will probably cost Acta his job. Nothing Acta tried worked or seemed to help before the Tribe finally broke their losing streak on September 1.
“Our focus every day is to make the best out of the next five weeks, regardless of where we are in the calendar,” said Acta. “It has been such a bad month that it doesn’t matter; we could win 10 in a row, and it will feel good at the moment, but you could always go back and say, ‘They won 10 of their last 30.’ You can approach it and say, ‘[The month] is gone–but there’s still baseball on the field.’” Not surprisingly, the manager noted that August was the hardest month of his managerial career.
And so, we honor the 2012 Cleveland Indians by inducting them into the You Stink! Hall of Shame for posting their pathetic 5-24 record.