That the Giants could only beat this version of the Braves by a single run in their last two games together doesn't say a whole lot about San Francisco's chances against the Phillies. The last game managed by Bobby Cox will go down as a second straight stinker and finish a brilliant managerial career that, except for the one World Series win, will go down as the MLB equivalent to Marv Levy. That is no knock on Cox. It was a miracle they got into the playoffs at all. But most of his horses were gone and all he had left was one gimpy thoroughbred and a bunch of ponies. And in the end, ironies were abound.
First, the final game was lost on an error by Alex Gonzalez. Gonzalez was the shortstop the Braves received from the Blue Jays in a straight up deal because Bobby Cox and his staff couldn't take Yunel Escobar for another moment. Escobar played well for the Blue Jays and Gonzalez managed an 83 OPS+ with the Braves. But Gonzalez did provide the Braves with good shortstop play during the season. It's just ironic that this season should fall apart because the guy the Braves wanted made a critical error in exactly the wrong time.
Second, Bobby Cox's major league career ended exactly like it began back in 1968 and 1969 when he played his only two years in the big leagues for the Yankees. When he started, he couldn't hit and he was a pretty lousy fielder. At the end, he managed a team that couldn't hit and were lousy in the field. Talk about a full circle!
And last but not least, just like all those years when he had Maddux, Glavine and Smoltz, he had all the pitching he needed. Hudson and Lowe were heroic in their efforts. But just like those magical three of the past, good pitching wasn't enough to get the prize.
But, though the final outcome is a bit sad, Bobby Cox won 55.6% of his games as manager in his career with just over 2500 wins. He'll long be remembered as one of the most beloved of all managers. It's just a shame that he had his last hurrah with such a beat up and terrible team. But on the bright side, we'll see you in five years Mr. Cox. Start writing that speech.