And because a zillion people have asked me already, no I am not suffering any existential angst by virtue of my arch nemesis, Jeff Francoeur, making it to the World Series. If anything, it’s the best thing possible. Why? Because my frustration with Francoeur has always had less to do with him personally — though, believe me, he was frustrating — than it has to do with the Francoeur Industrial Complex, epitomized by the Atlanta Journal-Constitution and more recently the New York tabloids who worked overtime to play this guy up as an emerging superstar against all evidence to the contrary. Meanwhile, for the better part of five years I and other like-minded souls have argued that he’d only be acceptable as a backup outfielder deployed as a defensive replacement and occasional fill-in against lefties.
Now that he is on a team that has placed him in that role, he has found success. This is not a coincidence. And hopefully, it’s a learning experience for everyone.
Oh, and here’s a nice runner-up Photo of the Weekend.
Houston made one unexpected change to the roster for the ALDS, leaving off veteran reliever Chad Qualls.
Qualls warmed up but never appeared in the Wild Card game win over the Yankees and during the regular season the 36-year-old right-hander logged 49 innings with a 4.38 ERA and 46/9 K/BB ratio. Qualls was on the Astros’ last playoff team in 2005.
Utility man Jonathan Villar has been bumped off the roster in favor of outfielder Preston Tucker, as the Astros opted for a good left-handed bat off the bench versus the Royals rather than Villar’s speed.
It’s been a tough season for the mythology of Jonny Gomes‘ veteran clubhouse savior reputation.
First he signed with the rebuilding Braves and performed poorly while Atlanta fell apart after a surprisingly decent start. Then he was traded to the Royals, for whom he played just 12 games and hit .167. And now Kansas City has left Gomes off the ALDS roster.
It makes sense, though. Gomes’ only real use to the Royals would be as a pinch-hitter versus left-handed pitching, but manager Ned Yost rarely pinch-hits and will no doubt be more willing to use 25th man Terrance Gore as a pinch-runner in the late innings.
Beyond that, not many surprises on the Royals’ roster for their series against the Astros. They went with 11 pitchers, which means both Chris Young and Kris Medlen are on the roster. Jeremy Guthrie is not.