CLEVELAND -- Amid a turbulent stretch of the season, Indians CEO Paul Dolan tried to offer some serenity on Thursday by backing the jobs of his manager, general manager and president.
Dolan, who said he's still trying to figure out how the Indians have "collapsed," scoffed at the notion that the jobs of Manny Acta, GM Chris Antonetti or team president Mark Shapiro might be in jeopardy.
"We all have a lot of work to do, but their jobs aren't at stake," Dolan said Thursday at Acta's bowling charity fundraiser.
The Indians returned home following Wednesday's 3-1 loss to the Mariners -- Cleveland's eighth consecutive defeat. The Indians also suffered through an 11-game skid that ended earlier this month. The Tribe is 10-29 since the All-Star break, replacing what was initially a bright season of hope with a cloud of uncertainty.
"It's been extraordinarily difficult," said Dolan, whose family has owned the team since 2000. "In our entire tenure of ownership, we have not seen a contending team deep into the season collapse like this."
After the Indians battled through myriad injuries last season en route to an 80-82 mark, the organization exercised Acta's option for the 2013 campaign. Acta said he doesn't concern himself with his job security.
"I'm never afraid of the unknown or the things that I can't control," Acta said. "What's on my mind right now is to be able to get my guys to play better baseball and to win a ballgame. ... I can control the way I prepare myself. I can control my attitude. I can control how I show up every day to the field. After that, I really don't waste any energy on that stuff."
Dolan said senior management must make a "strong recommendation" to ownership for someone in the managerial position to lose his job. However, Dolan stressed that before he would even consider structural changes, he wants to determine why the Indians have free fallen, and he doesn't anticipate finding that solution until the winter.
"I don't really know what's happened to this team," Dolan said. "It's going to take more time to assess what we have and what we need and what we're capable of doing. ... Hopefully sometime this offseason, we'll be able to assess and move from there."
On July 26, the Indians topped division foe Detroit and ace Justin Verlander to take two of three from the Tigers and move to within 3 1/2 games of first place in the American League Central. The club opted to stand pat at the July 31 non-waiver Trade Deadline, which came and went during an 11-game losing streak, one shy of the franchise record. That skid knocked the Tribe to 10 1/2 games out of first.
Acta maintained that he believes his players are still buying into his message.
"Just because you're not winning games doesn't mean that the kids aren't giving the effort," he said.
No matter the status of anyone's job within the organization, one thing is clear: It has been a frustrating stretch for the Indians, from top to bottom.
"We share that frustration," Dolan said. "This has been the most difficult stretch we've had as owners. At the end of July, we were in the playoffs or on the verge of the playoffs ... then it all fell apart. We have to understand what happened and I'm not going to make judgments on that right now. But it's certainly been a very, very difficult stretch for us."
"Unfortunately, everything has exploded in three weeks, which has been really hard," Acta said. "It's been hard to take."