Front office attempts to pinpoint what led to collapse

Front office attempts to pinpoint what led to collapse

Front office attempts to pinpoint what led to collapse
CLEVELAND -- Why is the sky blue? Which came first: the chicken or the egg?

What caused the Indians' downfall in 2012?

The third question might not seem to fall in line with the first two, but Antonetti admitted on Thursday that the club has yet to fully pinpoint what triggered Cleveland's second-half collapse.

"I'm still taking opinions if anyone has any ideas of exactly what happened," Antonetti said, jokingly.

What was a summer mystery to the organization's ownership and front office has become merely a means for motivation and enlightenment as the team aims to prevent another collapse in the future.

"I don't think there's any one sole reason," Antonetti said. "We've asked a lot of people that question to try to get a lot of feedback and a number of different perspectives on it. I don't think there's one single reason as to why we struggled the way we did. I think the one thing we all feel is that we have better talent than our record shows."

The Indians sat 3 1/2 games out of first place at 50-49 after a July 26 triumph over Justin Verlander and the Tigers, a comeback victory that Antonetti identified as perhaps his favorite moment from the season. From there, Cleveland proceeded to lose its next 11 contests en route to a historically miserable August in which the club went 5-24. The lackluster second half contributed to the dismissal of manager Manny Acta, and instead of closing out the regular season in contention, the Tribe finished with more than 90 losses for the third time in four years.

"There are certain things that we've identified that we clearly could've performed better," Antonetti said. "All aspects of our team -- we didn't pitch effectively, we didn't hit very well during that stretch, we didn't play great defense. Now, the explanation as to why all of those things at the same time didn't perform to our expectations, we don't have a great answer for."

That is not to say, Antonetti cautioned, that there weren't positives to draw from the season.

"It has been really tough," Antonetti said. "We have -- and continue to have -- high expectations, and we were a competitive team for four months, and it disintegrated very quickly. That's not how we wanted to finish the season.

"The important thing for us is how we move forward. I don't want what happened over the last month or two months to completely mask some of the positives of our team. There are a lot of positives."