The Tenth Inning
 The Tenth Inning Blog
Periodically, I will post new entries about current baseball topics.  The posts will typically be a mixture of commentary, history, facts, and stats.  Hopefully, they will provoke some  of your thoughts or emotions. Clicking on the word "Comments" associated with each post below will open a new dialog box to enter or retrieve any feedback.
Post-season musings

Before we go headlong into the off-season, I thought I’d close out the 2021 season with some thoughts about the World Series.

Braves manager Brian Snitker gets a World Series ring after 45 years in the organization. His story is one of perseverance. He had been demoted a couple of times in the minor-league ranks and had been passed over once before for the Braves managerial spot. I guess the old adage “good things come to those who wait” applies to him.

You have to wonder how one of the best offensive teams in baseball can go so flat in the World Series? The Houston Astros got only 10 extra-base hits (including only two home runs) in the six-game Series. Alverez and Bregman, with only two hits apiece, took an early vacation. What does it say when pitcher Zack Greinke has the highest Astros batting average (.667) during the Series? (Admittedly, he had only three plate appearances.)

With the absence of true “stoppers” (starting pitchers who can shut the opposition down with seven or eight solid innings following a loss by their team), all of the post-season teams had to resort to bullpenning in several games. It makes for an interesting chess match between the managers.

The Braves managed to win the World Series without their best position player, outfielder Ronald Acuna Jr., and their best pitcher, Charlie Morton. It’s a tribute to other teammates who stepped up when needed, especially outfielders Eddie Rosario, Jorge Soler, Adam Duvall, and Joc Pederson, all of whom were acquired by the Braves after July.

The Astros really didn’t miss former outfielder George Springer, who had been a key part of the team’s makeover going back to 2015. Springer signed with Toronto for the 2021 season, but his loss was offset by 24-year-old Kyle Tucker who had a breakout season and enabled Astros fans forget about Springer.

With the city of Atlanta hosting the World Series and MLB Commissioner Manfred having to present the Braves with the World Series trophy in Atlanta, Major League Baseball looks pretty silly now for moving the All-Star Game from Atlanta to Colorado back in July. MLB over-reacted to the political situation in Georgia, resulting in the change of the All-Star Game venue.

Looking ahead to 2022

What’s in store for Astros manager Dusty Baker for 2022? Will Houston bring the 72-year-old back for a third season? Does he want to come back?

Does Series MVP Jorge Soler get re-signed by the Braves for 2022? His post-season performance came at a good time, as he shops himself around in free agency over the winter. The Braves may not be willing to match some of the offers he’s likely to get from other teams.

The Astros appear to be pretty set in their starting rotation for the foreseeable future. Playing on the big stage for the first time, their corps of young starters that includes Framber Valdez, Luis Garcia, and Jose Urquidy, all of whom performed admirably at times during the post-season. Adding 27-year-old “veteran” Lance McCullers Jr. to the mix, the Astros have to feel good about that part of their roster. Two-time Cy Young Award pitcher Justin Verlander missed the entire Astros season due to recovery from Tommy John surgery. They don’t need to bring the 38-year-old back. It’s also bye-bye for 37-year-old Zack Greinke.

While the Astros pitching staff is manned by relative youngsters, the team will have to guard against getting too old with its position players down the road. Gurriel, Altuve, Brantley, and Maldonado are into their 30s.

The Braves would be foolish not to re-sign first baseman Freddie Freeman, who becomes a free agent after this season. He’s the clear leader of the team and a perennial MVP candidate. He’s the face of the franchise. Pay him.

By the same token, the Astros need to re-sign Carlos Correa. Yeah, he’s missed a lot of games during his short career, but he’s one of the main reasons the Astros have been to the World Series in three of the past five seasons. However, expect the Yankees to make a run at Correa.

2 comments | Add a New Comment
1. Steve | November 08, 2021 at 08:46 AM EST

Good take on the all star game. Wish all facets of our world would not delve into silly politics! Great article, as always.

2. Richard | November 14, 2021 at 10:29 PM EST

Thanks for the note, Steve.

Add a New Comment

(Enter the numbers shown in the above image)