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Francona calls team meeting before game vs. Rays

Club's offense managing only 2.75 runs per game in June

ST. PETERSBURG -- Indians manager Terry Francona was self-aware enough to know that emotions might envelop his message if he called a team meeting on Sunday night in Baltimore. Instead, Francona jotted down some thoughts and waited a day before gathering with his players.

Prior to Monday's game at Tropicana Field, Francona held a team meeting to reinforce some key points for his struggling team.

"We met a little bit as a team today, just because I didn't think last night was going to be productive," Francona said prior to Cleveland's game against the Rays. "So often, the manager has a meeting, he yells, feels better and blows off steam. OK, well, that doesn't necessarily help. Obviously, I was upset [Sunday] night and I kind of actually wrote some notes down about how I felt.

"I told the guys, I said, 'Hey, I probably don't need these notes, but I took them because I don't want to start letting emotion get in the way of what I want to say.' I just tried to reiterate and remind guys of what we stand for and what we're going to do, and just make sure we play the game the right way.

"You're never going to have nine hitters all hot at the same time. You're never going to have all your pitchers throwing at the same time. But we can't be that inconsistent team that goes up and down with our hitting. We have to find ways to still help us win games."

Over the weekend in Baltimore, the Indians were swept by the Orioles and scored only three runs in the series. That includes scoring no runs in a day-night doubleheader on Sunday, which was made necessary by a rainout on Saturday. With that showing, Cleveland was averaging only 2.75 runs per game through 24 games in June, entering Monday. The Indians scored 5.03 runs on average in 29 games in May.

The offensive outage in June pushed the Tribe 12 games behind the American League Central-leading Royals, heading into Monday's games.

Francona said what is important now is focusing on the task at hand, and not becoming overwhelmed by the ground that Cleveland needs to make up in order to potentially re-enter the postseason conversation.

"We've dug ourselves a little bit of a hole," Francona said. "We've got to get out of it, but the way to do that is by all the things we've always talked about. Not trying to think about nine out of 10, or the next series. We've got to keep it in small segments and just pay attention to what's right here in front of us."

Jordan Bastian is a reporter for Read his blog, Major League Bastian, follow him on Twitter @MLBastian and listen to his podcast.
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