Musings, predictions and pontifications

*It’ll be a Rust Belt World Series — Detroit and Milwaukee. ALCS: Tigers vs Tampa (can’t wait to see the ratings on that); NLCS: Brewers vs. Phils. Tigers in 6, Brewers in 7.

*Before Matt Moore’s shutout I had the Rangers winning that series. Another smart move by Joe Maddon, the best manager in baseball. I’m guessing he wouldn’t have started D-Lowe in Game 161.

*My advice to Terry Francona: Take a year off and wait for the call to return to Atlanta. Francona’s dad, Tito, played for the Braves from 1967-69.

*Interpret this how you will, though I find it revealing what FW didn’t say.

Q. Given the criticism of Fredi Gonzalez, how did you feel about the job he did?

A. There’s plenty of blame to go around. This was a really tough finish. It was kind of inconceivable, really, the way we finished up. But the reality is there’s no one person that you can point the finger at. I think it’s really unfair. There was no shortage of meetings, there was no shortage of conversations, no shortage of one-on-ones with veteran players, with young players trying to lighten the load as it got heavier and heavier in September. The reality is, it just didn’t work. It didn’t come out like we wanted. It’s tough for everybody.

*For a guy with a tin ear for PR (the exits of Glavine and Smoltz were handled terribly), FW sure did please the masses today.

*The top criteria for the Braves in their search for a new hitting instructor: Someone who can reach Jay Hey.

*The playoffs are one day old and already I’m sick of this godawful theme song.

*THE question of the offseason for the Braves: Hanson or Jurrjens? Smart money says one will be traded for an impact bat. Tougher call than some will lead you to believe but Hanson’s motion concerns me greatly and he’d most likely fetch the biggest return.

*The Royals hired Chino Cadahia as bench coach today. I suspect Larry Parrish’s agent has already placed a call to Dayton Moore.

*First unsubstantiated trade rumor of the offseason: Tommy Hanson for Alex Gordon. The second overall pick in the 2005 draft put it all together this season for KC, hitting .303 with 47 doubles, 23 homers, 17 steals and a .376 OBP.

Who are these idiot ‘voices within the franchise’?

From Buster Olney by way of Talking Chop:

He has been viewed an organizational building block, but he struggled through injuries and slumps in 2011, and there are voices within the franchise asking the question of whether he can be counted on. With Chipper Jones nearing the end of his career, the Braves have needed another middle-of-the-order hitter, and a year ago, their hope was that Heyward would be that guy. The Braves need power production out of right field. Now there is some sentiment within the organization that Atlanta might be better off dealing Heyward and taking advantage of his value or, at the very least, considering alternatives as they wait for him to develop.

I can’t help but wonder if those “voices within the franchise” include a certain manager and batting instructor?


Fredi’s dimwitted gut

Why did he pitch to Pence with Martinez on deck? Martinez left the bases loaded with an inning-ending foul pop in the ninth and stranded two with a routine fly in the 11th.

“I thought about not doing it,” Gonzalez said. “But all of a sudden you’ve got the 1-2 or 2-2 count, whatever it was. And Scotty made a great pitch. … Can you guarantee me Martinez wasn’t going to get a hit, or draw a base on balls?”

One question that wasn’t asked: Why leave in Matt Diaz, batting .222 against RHP, to face Vance Worley with two on and one out in the 6th and no one warming up in Philly’s ‘pen? Diaz struck out and was replaced in the field by Jay Hey in the top of the 7th.

Jack Wilson followed Diaz with a single but Uggla was thrown out at home. Had Heyward (.336 OBP against rightys, .72 points better than Diaz) reached the Braves could’ve scored a fourth run, maybe more.