It's a good thing that most of my emotion had left my body by the time the ninth inning rolled around. Still, the Braves made it exciting at the end, but as was typical for the Bobby Cox era they came up short. This series was rife with missed opportunities, blown plays, and blown calls. The margin of error in any postseason series is so close, and with two teams so evenly matched the four one-run games are a testament to how little room for error each team had -- unfortunately, the Braves were made to pay for their errors.
If Brooks Conrad's body is not bruised and sore when he arrives at spring training, then he didn't spend the off-season taking grounders off his chest like he should have. Though I don't know that a player can fix bad defensive instincts at age 30.
The series was not all about his miscues, though. The Giants starting pitching should be the lead story, or as Braves fans understand it, the lack of Braves hitting. Missing two of your three best hitters certainly has something to do with that, but there were already holes in this Braves offense that were not filled last off-season, and those holes became more obvious when Chipper and Prado went down. We here at Talking Chop will certainly discuss what is needed on the 2011 Braves team, but the biggest addition is clearly a big outfield bat.
I haven't set a schedule for this week yet, but I'll likely be reviewing the season, reviewing the NLDS, and doing some off-season prognosticating. If you were around Talking Chop last year, you'll remember that we did a very extensive review of every aspect of the 2009 Braves that ran all the way to Thanksgiving. We'll be doing that again this year for the 2010 Braves with blog posts going up every day.
For now though, I think we all need the numb feeling to dissipate just a bit before we talk about moving forward. At least we made it back to the postseason this year, and just a cursory glance at this team, especially the starting pitching staff, should tell you that they will be competitive next season. More to come...