On Thursday, Indians pitchers were coming to terms with the realization that their collective struggles led to the dismissal of pitching coach Scott Radinsky. That was tough news to swallow for the men around Cleveland's clubhouse.
"It wasn't Rad's fault, the problems we were having this year as a staff," starter Josh Tomlin said. "The people that need to be held accountable are the guys that are in this room, not the guys that are sitting in the dugout saying who pitches and when."
The Indians named Ruben Niebla, who has been in the organization for the past 12 seasons, the team's interim pitching coach, and will reassess the staff again at the end of the year. Niebla most recently served as pitching coach for Triple-A Columbus, and it is that experience that played a role in his promotion.
"At least three of our starters in our rotation pitched down there in Columbus for Ruben," said manager Manny Acta, referring to Zach McAllister, Corey Kluber and Chris Seddon. "We felt it was appropriate to give him an opportunity to come here and help us develop these guys."
The personnel change was especially hard on the Tribe's relievers.
Radinsky worked as Cleveland's bullpen coach for two seasons before replacing Tim Belcher as pitching coach this year. Under Radinsky's watch, the Indians' relief corps -- the late-inning arms, in particular -- developed into one of the better groups in the game.
"Without him, I don't know where I'd be," said reliever Joe Smith. "I know I wouldn't be here. He gave me the confidence to change my delivery back to what it was, and that's when I started to actually have some success consistently in the big leagues. It stinks that, because we've done so poorly, he takes the brunt of it. It's all on us."
Closer Chris Perez said Radinsky's impact went beyond the mound.
"He's helped me become a man. He's helped me become a father," Perez said. "I owe a lot of what I've become to him. ... I don't think it's all Rad's fault [that the staff has underperformed]. Most of it isn't his fault. It stinks. At the end of the day, it comes down to the pitchers.
"If we're leading the league in ERA right now and our starters are going out there and putting up six or seven solid innings every night, Rad's still here. It's an unfortunate circumstance to be a part of."