OK, because I am a little slow on the keyboard this morning this post may seem like I am just piling on.
I want to preface this by saying that I have lived in St. Louis since I was 27, or most of my adult life. I have seem PLENTY of great, HOF-caliber managers from the magician Whitey Herzog who always got the most out of every player to Tony LaRussa who really knew the game and how to put a team together and get them through the season to now Mike Matheny who is doing some amazing things with, frankly, not very overwhelming talent, again getting the most out of his players. That doesn't even count Joe Torre who was drummed out of town as being inferior to the average St. Louis manager.
So believe me when I tell you that Francona has shown this year that he is in a class with those guys, all of whom may well end up in the HOF as managers some day.
As I said, I trust in Tito. There is no angst on my part when I watch a game this year...totally the opposite of '94 and '97. Maybe I am older and have gained perspective but I don't think so.
One of LaRussa's great assets was Dave Duncan. So is Mickey Calloway to Francona. I know the Indians' pitchers will be ready.
Hey, is there a chance that the pitchers on this staff will end up like so many of Dusty Baker's pitchers have in the past, total wrecks by the time Francona gets done with them? Possibly. Is it possible that Andrew Miller will never be the same again after the way he was used in the playoffs? Possibly. Did we trade too much for Miller. Probably, if you take a long-term viewpoint. For small market teams getting no one out of a draft class really does hurt your team. That is essentially what will happen from the Miller trade. So we are probably robbing Peter to pay Paul there. But even if you hold that view you have to admit that in order not to make it totally suck, Francona had to make Miller pay off in performance. He had done that, in spades. No one at this point can doubt the Miller trade as, while we didn't need him at the time as we had 5 solid, deep-in-the-game starters, we don't now and we can see the extreme value in Miller when used the way Francona is using him...and so can all the rest of baseball.
Trust in Tito. He has guided the ship this far. He can get us the rest of the way.