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Manny Acta Staying Humble Despite the Indians Hot Start

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While the rest of major league baseball is waiting for the Indians to stumble and revert to the 69 win team they were a season ago, it’s just not happening and it is not going to any time soon either. The Indians are not a fluke. They have one of the best offenses in the game despite not getting much production from Shin Soo Choo and Carlos Santana, their number three and four hitters, they have one of the best pitching rotations in all of baseball, and while Grady Sizemore and Travis Hafner are both on the DL with injuries right now, the team hasn’t missed a beat without them. If there is a year that the Indians are going to take back control of the AL Central it is this year. The Tigers are kind of charging right now, but the Indians still lead them by six games. Meanwhile the White Sox are a mess and the Twins have struggled with too many injuries to compete. Manny Acta joined ESPN Radio in New York with Mike Lupica to talk about how surprised he is with the Indians start this year, how good Asdrubal Cabrera has been, whether or not he pays attention to the naysayers, and how the city has gotten behind the Indians now that they are winning.

How surprised he is by the Indians start this year:

“Everything started the second half of the season last year. I think a lot of people are just finding out right now. These guys made a lot of progress last year. In the second half they turned on a switch and just took off. Our pitching staff was fourth best in the America league and our bullpen was second best in the American league. I know that people only look at hey they only won 69 games, but we’re in here every day with them and saw the progress that they made in the second half which wasn’t a two week type of fluke, it was a whole half of a season and we knew that adding Grady and having Santana back and maybe adding a couple of free agents like we did with Orlando Cabrera was going to make us a better ballclub. Never a doubt for us coming out of spring training.”

On the emergence of Asdrubal Cabrera:

“He’s in a very good spot right. He’s been fantastic from day one this year. He has really stabilized our lineup because we haven’t had Shin Soo Choo or Carlos Santana hit up to their standards yet. We have Grady and now Hafner out and Asdrubal has been the steady guy in our lineup, he has gotten some big hits for us, and everything started in spring training. He showed up in great shape and he is healthy now. His forearm last year really hurt him. He was very weak and now he is strong and using the whole field. He’s been fantastic. I agree with you that he is lost a little bit in the shuffle because hey the last couple of years we haven’t been very good but this kid hit over .300 two years ago. That just wasn’t noticed because of the record that we had over here.”

Whether or not they hear the naysayers:

“We’re trying to keep these guys humble and just stay in the moment. Mike we have played six weeks of good baseball but we have four months to go still. At the end of the day we’ve got too many games left. Yes we have played six weeks better than a lot of people thought we were going to, but we’ve got a lot of games to play and right now we’re trying to keep them away from all that and also we have to understand that you have to respect people’s opinion and people’s predictions because in 2008 the people that were predicting us to finish last this year were predicting this club to win the whole thing and we didn’t get it done. You have to take the good with the bad.”

On the fans getting behind the Indians now that they are having success:

“Yes it’s very exciting around here right now. I think people really appreciate the type of team that we’re putting on the field because we’re trying to put a team on the field that fits this city. A blue-collar type of team, guys that are relentless, pesky, scrappy, and will do anything to win. People around here appreciate that. It’s never going to be just like in the mid 90’s because the economy and the 17 percent of the population has moved out of here it tough to make up for that but the people are rallying behind us and they’re enjoying the ride right now.”

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