CHICAGO -- Freddie Freeman's walk-off homer on Tuesday night clinched a National League playoff spot for the Atlanta Braves, meaning former White Sox hitting coach and current Braves hitting coach Greg Walker will be going back to the postseason.
Gordon Beckham, one of Walker's former pupils and still good friends, congratulated Walker on Wednesday, while also addressing the ridiculousness of blaming a hitting coach for an offense's shortcomings.
"Anybody that criticizes a hitting coach in any [situation] .. it's just unfounded," said Beckham, who mentioned the rejuvenation of Jason Heyward under Walker and assistant hitting coach Scott Fletcher as an example of their work. "All they can do is provide information and a hitter has to take it and use it well or let it go in one ear and out the other.
"People made too much out of that. He was really the scapegoat of a lot of different things. I don't think he deserves that."
Beckham pointed out that other factors worked in Atlanta's favor, such as a solid starting rotation and a closer in Craig Kimbrel who "looks like he throws a million miles per hour," according to Beckham. But the second baseman was happy to see Walker's success.
"He's a great coach who is very knowledgeable and it showed," Beckham said. "Good for him."