8/12/2013 8:50 P.M. ET
Tribe team meeting prompts reversal of fortune
By Kerry Walls / Special to MLB.com
MINNEAPOLIS -- Throughout the course of the 162-game marathon that is the MLB season, teams routinely go through losing skids like Cleveland endured during its recent homestand. And often it's those ugly streaks that prompt an attempt at regrouping through some sort of meeting, like the one that manager Terry Francona convened following Saturday's 7-2 loss to the Angels.
With the Tribe on the verge of losing its seventh straight game, trailing 5-0 to Los Angeles in the sixth on Sunday, it would've seemed that the gathering had little effect. But after a six-run rally over two frames put the kibosh on the losing skid, the team traveled to Minnesota rejuvenated and ready to continue with their reversal of fortune.
"We have good veterans in our clubhouse that do a really good job," Francona said, "but sometimes I need to tell them how I feel.
"Sometimes you feel the need to explain things or to pick them up. That's me and the coaches' job, to have the barometer of how things are and try to do that right thing. Because the last thing you want to do is to say the wrong thing."
Francona couldn't pinpoint the exact number, but he didn't remember calling more than a couple of meetings this season. The skipper pointed out that during his World Series championship years managing the Red Sox, manager-team congregations were not a regular occurrence.
"I'm pretty fond of [the team]," he said. "I've become pretty attached to them. I just want them to put their best foot forward every night. We kind of have to be a lunch-pail team, and I like that. But we have to make sure we do that."
Francona says extra rest for Kazmir paid off
MINNEAPOLIS -- The decision to give starter Scott Kazmir extra rest following his last start on Friday against the Angels evidently delivered the desired results. Indians skipper Terry Francona says his veteran southpaw "feels really good" and will toe the rubber for the Tribe on Sunday in Oakland.
With the club's off-day on Thursday, it not only gives Francona the opportunity to provide an additional breather for Kazmir, but also to bump back Ubaldo Jimenez, who will have gone six days between outings when he faces the Athletics on Saturday. Justin Masterson gets the call in the series opener against the A's.
"It gives Ubaldo two days and Kaz an extra three," Francona said. "[Kazmir] felt like these couple days have really helped him."
Kazmir will throw a bullpen session, possibly on Wednesday in Minnesota, to get back into his regular routine.
Despite only lasting three innings and allowing five runs in his last outing, Kazmir boasts a 2.89 ERA in his five post-All-Star break starts. He's given the Indians more than they could've ever expected with 114 quality innings in 2013, after making just one Major League start since 2011 coming into the season.
Chisenhall looking to heat up at the plate
MINNEAPOLIS -- No Indians hitter was tearing the cover off the ball during the 1-6 homestand. But those games at Progressive Field were especially tough on third baseman Lonnie Chisenhall, who went 2-for-17, leaving him with a .120 average and one RBI in August after enjoying a solid July.
"When I came up, I was feeling good in the box," Chisenhall said, "and that kind of trickled away. We were winning games, and I was a little satisfied just winning games as a team. I've got more in the tank."
Despite the paltry numbers this month, Chisenhall, like the rest of this teammates, is ready to turn the page on the mostly forgettable week that was.
"It was a great win to kind of propel us into this road trip," he said. "You never know what's the turning point in your season until the end of it."
The release of Mark Reynolds, who started 40 games at third for the Tribe this season, likely secured more playing time for Chisenhall, but not any additional pressure to produce.
"It hasn't had any effect on me, really," Chisenhall said. "Mark is a good baseball player. That was a move they felt they needed to make. Mike [Aviles] has been playing well, so Mike's been filling in a little bit of that role that Mark was doing playing against lefties. Mark was a good baseball player, so I don't read too much into that move."
• Before Carlos Santana even stepped to the plate on Monday at Target Field, he added a hit to his season total. An appeal by the Indians to Major League Baseball led to the overturning of a fielding error handed out to White Sox shortstop Alexei Ramirez in the fifth inning of a game at Progressive Field on July 30. That extra hit bumped Santana's average to .266.
• Josh Tomlin's latest rehab outing yielded more positive results, as the veteran recovering from Tommy John surgery tossed 2 1/3 scoreless innings, allowing a hit while striking out three for Class A Lake County. According to Francona, Tomlin will continue his rehab working on regular rest.
Kerry Walls is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.