07/14/12 1:45 PM ET
Pestano-Perez tandem among game's best
By Chris Toman / MLB.com
The reason is simple: He has one of the best late-inning tandems in baseball in setup man Vinnie Pestano and closer Chris Perez.
"They have been lights-out, we are in good shape when Pestano comes into the game, followed by Chris," Acta said.
Pestano leads the Majors in holds with 24 to accompany a 1.70 ERA and 1.00 WHIP, while averaging 10.95 strikeouts per nine innings.
Entering play Saturday, since June 1, and 15 1/3 innings of work, Pestano has allowed just one earned run. For the season, he has held hitters to a .168 average, which is fifth among all American League relievers.
Acta said on days when Perez is unavailable, he has no concerns turning to Pestano to close out games.
"He's fearless, he's very deceptive. I don't think guys can pick up his fastball. It's very good, plus it's not straight," Acta said. "It has a natural cut to it and he has a very good slider, too."
Perez, meanwhile, recorded his 25th save -- in his 27th opportunity -- in Friday's series opener against the Blue Jays, which is tied for second in the AL.
Acta believes the late innings, and especially the ninth, aren't for every player, and that it takes a different mentality to succeed under that type of pressure.
Luckily for the Indians, they have two players who can fill that void, in the eyes of their skipper.
"They know how important they are to the ballclub," Acta said.
Red-hot Brantley vital to Tribe's success
TORONTO -- Michael Brantley has been on a tear as he takes an 11-game hitting streak into Saturday's contest against the Blue Jays.
Over the streak, Brantley is batting .419 with two homers, eight RBIs, four doubles and six runs scored.
The center fielder has recorded a hit in 41 of his past 44 games, hitting at a .329 clip over that period.
"He has been very consistent with his approach," Indians manager Manny Acta said. "He knows that his job is to give us quality at-bats and drive in runs. He has not tried to do too much."
Brantley has hit in a number of spots in the batting order this season, but Acta says that regardless of where he is hitting -- even the middle of the order -- he doesn't change anything, or try to swing for the fences.
That is something that has especially caught the attention of Acta, and has proven Brantley's team-first mentality.
The 25-year-old has hit in every part of the lineup except eighth or ninth, and primarily out of the five-hole.
Without Brantley's production, Acta doesn't know where his team would be.
"He has been our savior, basically, because of the injury to [Travis] Hafner, and [Carlos] Santana not hitting the way we expected him to hit," Acta said.
Brantley contributes to the club in many areas, as he is batting .294 with three homers, 42 RBIs, 10 stolen bases, and leads the team with four outfield assists.
Artificial turf forces Acta to juggle lineup
TORONTO -- The Indians are in the midst of playing seven consecutive games on artificial turf, something skipper Manny Acta says is not easy.
After Cleveland finishes its three-game trip in Toronto, it will head to Tampa Bay for four games.
As a result of the turf, which Acta said is hard on the body, and particularly the knees, the Indians' manager will employ a number of different lineups over that stretch.
"It's a tough trip for us," Acta said. "We have to try to monitor our players because ... it actually is tough on our guys, and so we have to kind of manage that and see who we can give a day off here [Toronto] or in Tampa."
Acta said in addition to giving his players some off-days over the trip, he will insert different guys into the lineup as the designated hitter.
He has already used two different lineups over the first two games in Toronto, but that also had to do with the Blue Jays sending a pair of lefties to the hill to start the series in Ricky Romero and Aaron Laffey.
Travis Hafner was given the day off Saturday after driving in the only run in Friday's victory with a towering homer. Acta said with Hafner, especially, he will have find some down time for him, and not push him too hard, as he has battled numerous injuries over the years.
Hafner has already spent time on the disabled list this season with inflammation in his right knee.
"We are monitoring his playing time, especially against left-handed pitching. We are trying to get a few more right-handed bats in the lineup in those situations," Acta said.
Chris Toman is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.