Results tagged ‘ Chipper Jones ’
Does he think at all about coming back?
“Did you see me walk in here?” he said.
Jones limped through the visitor’s clubhouse this afternoon at Citizens Bank Park, where the Phillies and Braves opened a three-game series. Jones, 40, is retiring after the season, despite hitting .297 with 14 home runs, 60 RBIs and an .856 on-base-plus slugging percentage in 102 games.
“I’m in a lot of pain today,” he said. “It’s time. I’m happy that I’ve played well. I’m happy I’ve produced when I’ve been in there, but it’s time to go.”
He is not looking back, and he has no regrets.
So this represents the last time Jones will play baseball in Philadelphia. He entered Friday having played a combined 119 games at Veterans Stadium and Citizens Bank Park, hitting .329 (136-for-414) with 24 home runs, 69 RBIs and a 1.029 OPS.
The Phillies honored him before the game.
“I have a lot of respect for these guys,” Jones said. “These guys have done it as well as anybody for the last five or six years, even before the last five or six years. I was in the dugout in ’93, when they beat us with the (Curt) Schillings and (Terry) Mulhollands and Dutch (Darren Daulton) and (Lenny) Dykstra and all those guys. A lot of good baseball has been played here in Philly.”
Jones discussed his three most memorable moments in Philadelphia:
- Phillies closer Mitch Williams striking out Bill Pecota for the final out in Game 6 of the 1993 National League Championship Series. “I can remember leaving the Vet and all the fans outside the stadium almost tipped our bus over,” Jones said. “It was a little intro into what Philly fans were all about. That was fun.”
- The Phillies and Braves playing the first game following the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks on Sept. 17 at Veterans Stadium. Jones homered in his first at-bat in the first inning against Phillies right-hander Robert Person.
- Every plate appearances against pitchers like Roy Halladay, Cole Hamels, Cliff Lee and Curt Schilling. “That’s how you make a name for yourself, going out and putting up good AB’s against guys like that,” Jones said. “They’re the best in the business. They have not made it easy for us.”
The Phillies are honoring Jones before tonight’s game.
The Phillies woke up this morning with a 9 1/2 game lead over the Braves in the National League East, despite the Braves having the second-best record in the league and fourth-best record in baseball.
That’s pretty impressive.
It’s even more impressive when you combine the leads of every other division leader in baseball:
AL East: 0 (tie for first)
AL Central: 4.
AL West: 1.
NL Central: 3.
NL West: 1/2 game.
That’s a combined 8 1/2 games for the other division leaders.
Mark Bowman covers the Braves for MLB.com and he passed along this quote from Braves third baseman Chipper Jones: “The Phillies are as good as any team I’ve seen. I’d put them up against any of those Yankees clubs of the late ’90s and early 2000s. That club has got it going on and they are flat out playing like it, day in and day out.”
A few random notes/thoughts on yesterday’s 5-3 loss to the Braves:
- Joe Blanton still feels soreness in his right elbow, but he said afterward it has improved from his last start. But there is no mistaking his velocity is down. His fastball averaged roughly 86 mph today. Its average is 89 mph for the season. “Blanton isn’t throwing 90-plus anymore,” Chipper Jones said. “He threw a couple balls over the plate in the first inning. But after that not a whole lot. He stayed on the corners. He’s got a really good changeup. But he’s got a really good changeup because he throws 90 or 91. I only saw a couple 88 or 89s today. Most of them were 85, 86, or 87.”
- Shane Victorino left the game with soreness in his right hamstring. He will not play tomorrow. He said he hopes a little rest will be enough, but leg injuries are tricky. If he flat out pulls it he could miss a significant period of time. I’m sure the Phillies want him to be smart.
- Ben Francisco is hitting .071 (2-for-28) with six walks and six strikeouts since May 1. Braves right-hander Tim Hudson pitches in today’s series finale. Maybe today is a good time for Ross Gload to start. John Mayberry Jr. could be starting in center field with Victorino out. He has hit .250 (5-for-20) with one RBI against right-handers this season, but if he can show Charlie Manuel he can hit right-handers maybe he can earn a little more playing time when Victorino comes back.
Here’s a crazy stat: Phillies starters have a 6.19 ERA through seven games.
I’d bet on that number improving.
Cliff Lee allowed 10 hits and six runs in just 3 1/3 innings in last night’s 6-3 loss to the Braves. It was his worst start since Sept. 4, 2009, when he allowed nine hits and six runs in three innings at Houston.
“I thought he was good,” Chipper Jones said. “He might have gotten a little too much plate on some pitches. But he’s a strike thrower. He relies on getting ahead and guys getting themselves out and being able to move the ball in and out, cut it, sink it, change it up and curve it. All those things have won the guy a Cy Young in the past. I think we did a good job of not striking out. We did a good job of putting balls in play and balls find holes when you put enough of them in play.”
“In my years here, there have been two guys that have commanded the strike zone like that, that I’ve actually faced,” Chipper Jones said. “Rocket (Roger Clemens) was the other one. What’s not to be impressed about him? He’s the real deal.”
“Halladay is very, very good,” Bobby Cox said. “What you saw tonight is basically what he does every start. You don’t get many (scoring chances). He’s that good. He’s really a machine.”
A few numbers to know regarding Halladay:
- He is 4-0 with a 0.82 ERA in his first four starts with the Phillies, matching Cliff Lee‘s starts with the Phillies.
- He is 6-0 with a 0.53 ERA in his last six starts, dating to last season with Toronto. It includes four complete games and three shutouts.
- He is 8-2 with a 1.21 ERA in his last 10 starts, including six complete games and shutouts against the Yankees, Red Sox, Mariners and Braves.
Great defense last night in the 2-0 victory. Shane Victorino robbed Troy Glaus of a homer in the second, making a leaping catch at the wall. Juan Castro made a nice play up the middle that had Ryan Howard stretching as far as he could humanly stretch to beat the runner in the fifth. The biggest play might have been the inning-ending double play that Chase Utley and Castro turned with the bases loaded and one out in the seventh. Yunel Escobar hit a grounder up the middle. The ball hit off the mound and Utley made a diving catch to his right and flipped the ball to Castro, whose momentum carried him across the bag as he made the throw to Howard to end the inning. Howard then made a fantastic diving catch on a one-hopper to his right in the ninth. He flipped the ball to Halladay at first to retire Jones for the first out.
The Phillies provided just enough offense. They had scored 77 runs (7.7 per game) in their first 10 games, including a .315 batting average and a .935 on-base-plus-slugging percentage, but have scored just six runs (1.5 per game) in their previous four games, including a .188 batting average and a .533 OPS.
Placido Polanco said he does not expect to miss much time after bruising his left elbow. Tim Hudson hit Polanco with a pitch in the first inning, and Polanco remained in the game until Wilson Valdez pinch-hit for him in the seventh inning. Polanco said x-rays revealed no fracture.
“It’s stiff now, weak, sore,” Polanco said.
The two busses that carried the Phillies from Bright House Field in Clearwater to Champion Stadium in Lake Buena Vista left at 1:30 p.m. today.
Roy Halladay was not on board. He could not wait for the busses to make the 90-minute trek. He wanted to get to the ballpark earlier, so he drove himself and arrived at 2:15 p.m. instead.
“I just can’t sit at home on days I pitch,” he said during a 7-4 victory over the Braves. “I get fidgety. My wife can’t stand me, so she kicks me out. I try to get here a little earlier just to meander for awhile.”
Halladay, who will spend that time during the season studying a game plan, allowed three hits and struck out five in three scoreless innings against Atlanta. In two Grapefruit League starts, Halladay has allowed five hits and struck out eight in five scoreless innings. Halladay struck out the side in the first inning, including a nice curveball to get Brian McCann to end the inning. He retired the side in order in the third, striking out Nate McLouth and Martin Prado each for the second time.
“I felt like it got better,” Halladay said. “The last inning I felt like the command was better.”
Halladay threw 51 pitches, 33 for strikes. He allowed singles to Chipper Jones and Troy Glaus in the first inning, which left him unsatisfied. Yes, Halladay didn’t think he threw particularly well the first two innings – and he still looked good, catcher Brian Schneider remarked.
Braves manager Bobby Cox marveled at the two front-door cutters that got Prado.
“He can do it with every pitch,” Cox said. “There’s a guy that can throw 96 (mph) if he wants to. But he throws 89-91 and knows right where it’s going.”
“I would have labeled this game if we’d have lost it as devastating,” he said.
Nobody in the Phillies clubhouse at Turner Field used the word devastating to describe the loss, but they could have. John Mayberry Jr. and Pedro Feliz hit back-to-back, two-out solo home runs in the eighth inning to take a one-run lead, but the Phillies blew that lead in the eighth and ultimately lost in 10.
The Phillies have lost 12 of 16, and they hold just a 1 1/2 game lead over the Marlins in the NL East.
“We’ve been finding ways to lose games,” Jayson Werth said. “We’ve got to turn this thing around and get back to playing the type of baseball that made us champs last year.”
Any idea why this is still happening?
“Like I said, it seems like anything we can do to lose a game right now we’re doing it,” Werth said. “Both sides of the ball. We’re all right, though. We’re still really good. I still feel like we’re the best team in baseball. We’ve just to find a way to start winning games. We’ll be all right.”
Jimmy Rollins went 0 for 5 in his return to the lineup. He is hitless in his last 24 at-bats. Fans chanted, “208! 208!” as Rollins hit in the ninth. They were referring to Rollins’ batting average.
Rollins struck out to drop his average to .207.
“His timing wasn’t good,” Charlie Manuel said. “It wasn’t like he was swinging real bad, but he didn’t hit a ball hard. His timing was a little bit off. He’ll be OK. He’ll be fine. He’ll be OK.”
Ryan Madson is 0-2 with a 9.53 ERA (six earned runs in 5 2/3 innings) and three blown saves in his last six appearances. He has allowed nine hits and seven walks in that span.