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Francona plays the long game and gets burned

Practically everyone in Cleveland loves Terry Francona, and for good reason. His hiring signaled that the Dolans were finally serious about fielding a competitive team again, and the flurry of moves that followed led to the competitive roster we have now.

We’re also learning to appreciate Francona’s style. He’s a players’ manager, and he also preaches patience. And he know what he’s doing, so in most instances his approach plays dividends. Early in the season many fans wanted to cut Ubaldo Jimenez and move Jason Kipnis down in the lineup. Now Kipnis is on fire and Ubaldo is at least showing flashes of his old, All-Star form. Patience is a virtue with Francona. He understands that it’s a long season.

But, no manager gets it right all the time, and every approach sometimes fails you, at least in the short term. Yesterday’s meltdown in Boston was one of those days. Chris Perez didn’t have it. As we know now, he was hurt, but in his desire to be there for his teammates he basically let them down by blowing an easy 3-run save opportunity. But more blame goes on Francona, who seemed much more concerned with supporting his closer than winning the game. But in the end he lost the game and probably made things even worse for Perez, who will have nightmares after this outing.

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