Was that convincing? Nah, didn’t think so. Sigh.
I started thinking about tonight’s Braves-Giants game a few minutes ago. I want to talk myself into Atlanta coming out of the gate strong, but I’m having a hard time really getting on board. My thought process:
The good: Derek Lowe was 5-0 in September, with 29 strikeouts, three walks and a 1.17 ERA in 30.1 innings.
The not-so-good: Those starts came against the Pirates, the Nationals — twice — the Mets and the Marlins.
The good: Lowe is 5-1 with a 1.98 ERA in eight starts in AT&T Park, including a good one this year.
The not-so-good: He’s a groundball pitcher and the Braves have Brooks Conrad at second and Omar Infante at third. Conrad is bad everywhere. Infante is more comfortable at second than he is at third.
I guess a hot Lowe is all a Braves fan can ask for at the moment, but I think there may be more light than heat here. And I really just wanted an excuse to say “OctLoweber” again, because it’s all kinds of fun. Other random bits causing me nervousness:
- The Giants’ ERA for the month of September: 1.78. Yikes;
- The Braves outfielders that aren’t named Heyward are still McLouth, Melky, Diaz and Ankiel;
- The Braves were 35-46 on the road this year, which is the worst road record among playoff teams;
- The Braves bullpen is cited as a big strength — and it is — but the Giants’ was actually better this year;
I’m not trying to be overly pessimistic here. I’m psyched and rooting and all of that. But I figured I owe a lot of people who are accusing me of being a Debbie Downer about the Braves’ chances this postseason a bit of an explanation as to why I’m being a Debbie Downer.
But again: OctLoweber!
Kyle Schwarber made a quicker-than-expected recovery from ACL surgery and then, after an Arizona Fall League rehab assignment, was shuttled up to Cleveland for the World Series. But that’s not all he has done.
Schwarber is now the latest ever Best Shape of His Life All-Star. Or so says Kris Bryant, talking to Patrick Mooney of CSNChicago.com:
“We’ve seen first-hand the work that he’s putting in and how hard he’s been going . . . Honestly, I saw him out — maybe a couple weeks after his surgery — and he’s moving around, walking. And I’m like: ‘Dang, this guy’s not human. How? I saw your leg bend in half, and you’re walking around. This is unbelievable . . .(It’s) watching him dripping with sweat every single day. Every single day, this guy is drenched. I feel like he’s in the best shape of his life (now). There was no doubt in my mind that he could do it. It was just a matter of if they let him.”
May as well just forfeit now, Indians. No way you can deal with an October BSOHL guy.
When Mike Hazen left the Red Sox to go run the Diamondbacks, the Red Sox set out to look for a new general manager to replace him. Now, according to Pete Abraham, they may not replace him after all. Instead, president Dave Dombrowski may just leave the seat vacant and run the Sox all by himself.
Which, to be clear, is something Dombrowski is more than capable of doing, as he has been a general manager for decades now. A lot of this stuff is a function of job title-inflation, with guys in Dombrowski’s position being given elevated titles despite the fact that they are, more or less, still running the baseball operations department like they did when they were merely general managers. GM, meanwhile, has become a less authoritative position in many organizations, making it a somewhat less visible and perhaps less desirable job than it used to be.
Not that it’s totally about optics. The job of running a ball club is a lot more complicated than it used to be, and having one guy who can run big picture stuff and close deals like Dombrowski with another one being in charge of the more day-to-day tasks of the top baseball executive may be ideal. It also may help reign in some of the excesses of the top guy. Dombrowski, after all, may have been a master of a the big deal while running the Tigers, but in a lot of ways the win-now philosophy cost the club a lot of money and a lot of lower level talent. Another voice with a decent degree of power may be useful in that mix. As may a clear line of succession should Dombrowski decide to move on in a year or two.