We had them where we wanted them.
We had matched the best pitcher in baseball with our sixth best starter. Our back up second baseman and our sixth outfielder put us ahead. We were playing like we were the team up two games to one. We were headed back to Atlanta with our two best starters ready to go.
That’s when the curse of Marquis Grissom game into play.
Needing only six outs Fredi Gonzalez called on David Carpenter to shutdown the eighth inning. One has to wonder how things could have been different if the Jordan Walden injury had never happened at the end of August.
The Braves had shifted their defensive positioning to guard against a double to left. Yaseil Puig hit a groundball that is a routine out for Freddy Freeman if we are not set in this stupid over- positioning. With Craig Kimbrel standing in the bullpen waiting to come in and Juan Uribe failing to bunt Puig to third, it happened.
Carpenter has been a bright spot all year for the Braves. He looked shaky in the game two win and Kimbrel was standing in the pen!
Look. This is a young team. They have played like a young team for about a month. Fredi is going to get some heat, some warranted, some not. But playing tight in September and October has been a hallmark of Fredi’s teams in Atlanta. I think that is a fair statement to point out.
This should be a very good team next year, but there are some difficult questions the front office will have to answer over the next few months.
Is Brian McCann coming back? His playoff performance doesn’t help him in the free agent market, but he is going to ask for a lot.
Can at least one of Mike Minor, Kris Medlen, Brandon Beachy or Julio Teahran be a consistent shutdown starter? If not, do we make a move to get a guy who can be?
Is Tim Hudson back? I think you have to make an offer to him.
Can you taker for Uggla that may pick up part of his contract? If so, who replaces him?
Can you lock up Jason Heyward and Freeman? Both took huge steps forward this season. With McCann most likely leaving, this is the nucleolus of the team. It would be nice to have them for five for six years.
All of this and more will be discussed here all winter. Lots of young guys got their first playoff experience and will be much more prepared for the future, which will help.