Archive for Saturday, May 4, 2002

Indians give skipper vote of confidence

Cleveland’s general manager says Manuel’s job safe despite 2-14 skid

May 4, 2002

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— Charlie Manuel's chin is up, and his neck is safe for now.

Indians general manager Mark Shapiro said he's pleased with the job Manuel is doing despite Cleveland's slide the past two weeks after an 11-1 start this season.

"I feel very strongly that Charlie has done an outstanding job," Shapiro said Friday.

"I've been very happy with the job Charlie is doing. The problems we're having are not the fault of one person. There is a lot of blame to go around."

The Indians entered a three-game series this weekend against the Texas Rangers in a five-game losing streak. After winning 10 of their first 11, Cleveland has dropped 14 of 16.

The Tribe has lost six in a row at home, and earlier this week they were beaten 21-2 by Anaheim the Indians' most lopsided loss at Jacobs Field.

"It's gut-wrenching," Shapiro said. "It's more than tough."

Shapiro met with reporters before Friday's game in a hastily arranged briefing in the Indians' dugout to address Manuel's job status.

One of the biggest reasons for the Indians' wild inconsistency can be traced directly to the struggles of some of their veteran players, he said.

Entering Friday's game, four regulars Jim Thome, Travis Fryman, Russell Branyan and Ricky Gutierrez are batting .227. In their last 16 games, the Indians are hitting just .224 and averaging 2.4 runs per game.

In the 16-game span, Cleveland has been outscored 114-39 and have scored three runs or less in 13 of those games.

"When you have as many veteran players as we have that are struggling unless you parade Randy Johnson or Curt Schilling out there every night, you're not going to win," Shapiro said.

Shapiro said he's been pleased with the club's young pitchers, and he's convinced the Indians can turn things around.

He's been trying to stay positive, which he said can be tough.

"My only fear is when guys stop believing," Shapiro. "That's when bad things can happen."

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