Braves players seem to think that the team’s problem is that they don’t bunt and run like the Marlins do. Huh? Leaving aside that the plodding Yankees — who do almost nothing on offense except walk and hit home runs — are probably going to win the World Series (to be fair, this was written before last night) — the Marlins didn’t beat the Cubs because of their speed, much less bunting. They won because they started hitting singles and doubles all over the place and because Dusty Baker spent games six and seven with his head up his butt. They beat the Giants because other than Bonds and Alfonzo none of the Giants looked like they wanted to be there. And they won both series because their pitching was good enough to keep them in games.
Robert Fick is one of the Braves (ex-Braves?) interviewed, and it’s especially rich coming from him. If the Braves had one major flaw that beat them in the Division Series, it was a lack of lefthanded power. Chipper had only the one good game, but the other lefty masher was supposed to be Fick. Who did nothing. Heck, if Bobby had Julio out there to begin with, the Braves might have won in four.
Smoltz has a few good points, in particular noting the way the Marlins made adjustments against Wood and Prior. If the Braves had done that, they could have won game five. But that’s not a nature of the team problem, that’s managing and coaching. Terry Pendleton did a good job this year, but he should have kicked the hitters — Sheffield in particular — in the butt and got them to stop swinging at everything.
(Thanks to Creg.)