CLEVELAND -- Before Wednesday's game against the Reds, there was hardly an indication in the Tribe's clubhouse that the home team had lost five straight and seven of the past eight games.
The players were easygoing. They chatted and laughed, even taking time at one point to stop and enjoy the new rap song put out by pitching prospect Trevor Bauer, whose lyrics lauded the big league club. By any measure, the Indians players seemed to be focused on that evening's contest instead of the losses that preceded it, or the 18-4 record that came before the current funk.
That's how Indians manager Terry Francona likes it. Despite their recent record, the Tribe is still doing plenty right, if the manager is to be believed.
"In my opinion -- and I get to see it from a different perspective than a lot of people -- I think we're coming through with flying colors," Francona said. "[It] hasn't shown on the scoreboard this last week, but our team is coming together more than ever. And I see it every day, and it's going to help us in the long run."
Francona's players make him proud on a daily basis. When players are hustling regardless of the score -- such as Nick Swisher sprinting to first on a dropped third strike or Michael Bourn extending himself to make another nimble catch in the outfield -- Francona feels gratified.
"I feel every bit as good about our ballclub right now as I did 10 days ago -- maybe if not better -- because I've seen the fight they have in them and we're pulling together," Francona said. "There's some things that haven't gone right for us at the end of games and things like that. But I think we're going to be OK."
Mark Emery is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.