Braves go for sweep without Chipper

  Philadelphia – Until Chipper Jones was scratched from the lineup 45 minutes ago with a bruised left thumb and hand, things couldn’t have possibly gone much better for the Braves in their season-opening visit to the home of brotherly love and cheesesteaks.
  He’s not seriously injured, or at least Chipper says he’s not. But I can attest to their being some rather ugly discoloration on the thumb, index finger and hand at the base of both digits. I looked at it while ago in the clubhouse.
  And to think, we were going to start this blog with something about how today is the 35th anniversary of Hank Aaron’s historic 715th home run off the Dodgers’ Al Downing at old Fulton County Stadium.
  Anyway, Jones seems sure it’s just a bruise, the result of getting jammed by pitches a few times in the past week. Said he’s got no top-hand strength batting left-handed, and Braves are facing a righty today, Joe Blanton.

The Hammer

The Hammer

  So, Chipper will rest it and use the off day tomorrow to give him more than two full days to heal before the home opener Friday night. He’s confident he’ll be in there to face Nationals righty Shairon Martis on Friday (Braves face lefty John Lannan on Saturday, and lefty Scott Olsen on Sunday).

The $42 million contract extension for Chipper was:

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   The Braves and Javier Vazquez will have to go for a sweep today without Chipper, who’s 4-for-8 with two doubles, a home run and an uncharacteristic three strikeouts in the first two games of the series.
  ”Yeah, we’ve got a chance to sweep,” he said. “But if we sweep, it’s gonna be because Javy shoves [pitches well]. Regardless of who’s in the lineup.
  ”So … if we pitch well, I still feel good about [the chances for a sweep].”
  His hand looked bad, and Chipper said after trying to hit some in the indoor batting cage Wednesday morning, it felt bad. Actually, one minute he said “pretty bad.” Next minute, he said, “It’s bad.”
  ”I mean, I’m just having trouble with my grip strength,” he said. “I can’t bury the bat in my hand. I’ve got no top hand, which causes my bat to drag. I’m not going to b able to get to anything, and I’m probably gonna end up, especially on a cold day like today, getting jammed again and out for …
  ”I’ve been dealing with it for about a week or 10 days now. I would prefer to get it behind me by Friday.”
  Barring an unexpected pinch-hit appearace today, Chipper’s 27-game hitting streak against the Phillies is put on hold until May 8, when the Braves return to Philly for another three-game series.
  That streak is the longest by any Braves player against any opponent since at least 1954, as far back as my man Trent McCotter of the SABR Records Committee has been able to verify. He’s the sharp dude that brought the streak to my attention.
  Chipper has hit .387 with 24 extra-base hits (11 homers) and 25 RBIs in that 27-game streak, with a .491 OBP and .892 slugging percentage. The Braves still have won only 11 of the 27 games.
  The next-longest hitting streak by a Brave against a single opponent since 1954 was Dale Murphy’s 24-game streak against the Cubs during 1981-83.

Phillies-killer hurt again

Philly nemesis is out of lineup

  According to SABR’s McCotter, Chipper’s streak is also the longest by any hitter against the Phillies since ‘54, ahead of 25-game streaks by Orlando Cepeda and Pete Rose.
  OK, but the streaks are on hold. So let’s deal with today.
  Omar Infante replaces Chipper at third base today, and Garret Anderson moves up from fifth to Chipper’s No. 3 spot in the order. Braves are fortunate to have a healthy Infante and Martin Prado on a strong bench this season. (Moments after I posted this blog, Braves announced Anderson was scratched after tweaking his right calf, the same calf he strained in spring training, which kept him out for three weeks. Don’t know if it happened in pregame or what, but his was a late scratch, call from clubhouse after 3 p.m.)
   OK, back to the blog: Remember last year, Infante was hurt to begin the season, and Prado also missed more than a month early on. It wasn’t until the second half of the season that most of us realized just how much they were missed.       Those are two good players, and with an injury-prone player like Chipper, particularly crucial having capable, proven backup to step in.

 ♣ Before the Chipper injury …. This is something we had written for today’s blog before we were interrupted by the Chipper news and made a dash back downstairs to talk to him and write for our website.
  After playing their first two games of the season at homer-happy Citizens Bank Park, the Braves lead the majors with a 0.50 ERA, and already have half as many wins against the Phillies as they last season.
  Oh, and their starters are the only ones in baseball who’ve yet to give up a run entering today’s series finale.
  But I would caution the Braves/MIB denizens not to get too excited just yet. For one thing, Javier Vazquez starts this afternoon’s series finale, and he’s 0-2 with a 9.90 ERA in two career starts at Citizens Bank Park.
  He’s allowed five homers in 10 innings at the venue that Philly folks call “The Bank,” and that was before the Phillies acquired Raul Ibanez. The former Seattle Mariner is 5-for-14 with two homers against Vazquez.
  Secondly, several Braves noted last night that the stiff wind kept at least a couple of towering Philly flyballs in the park.
  It was howling in from left field, and the only way a ball was likely to get out to left or center was if hit low — the way that Chipper Jones hit his fifth-inning homer, below the wind (by the way, the wind appears to be blowing from left to right today, which could help lefty hitters on both left-heavy teams).

This bank is a launching pad

It's a launching pad

   And finally, let’s not forget what happened the last time the Braves swept the Phillies in a season-opening series. That was a three-game series in 2007, here in Philly, and oddly enough, in the first two games the Braves hit five homers and scored eight runs, just as they’ve done in the first two of this series.
   (You’d never guess the three winning pitchers for the Braves in that series, so I’ll give them to you: Bob Wickman, Macay McBride, and Chuck James, who got the win in the 8-4 series finale. Seems like a long time ago, doesn’t it?)
  Anyway, the Braves swept that series and also won their next game against the Phillies on April 30 in Atlanta.
  But after winning those four, the Braves lost 23 of their next 30 games against the Phillies, a miserable stretch that lasted through Sept. 22, 2008.
  The Braves, after losing 14 of their first 16 against the Phillies last season, won the last two against them Sept. 23-24 in Philadelphia. Now they’ve won the first two against them this season, for a four-game winning streak against the NL East champions, with all four wins coming at Citizens Bank Park.
  Things could get interesting, folks.

 

“FORT WORTH BLUES” by Steve Earle

In Fort Worth all the neon’s burnin’ bright
Pretty lights red and blue
But they’d shut down all the honky tonks tonight
And say a prayer or two
If they only knew

You used to say the highway was your home
But we both know that ain’t true
It’s just the only place a man can go
When he don’t know where he’s travelin’ to

But Colorado’s always clean and healin’
And Tennessee in spring is green and cool
It never really was your kind of town
But you went around with the Fort Worth blues

Somewhere up beyond the great divide
Where the sky is wide and the clouds are few
A man can see his way clear to the light
Just hold on tight
That’s all you gotta do

And they say Texas weather’s always changin’
And one thing change’ll bring is somethin’ new
And Houston really ain’t that bad a town
So you hang around with the Fort Worth blues

There’s a full moon over Galway Bay tonight
Silver light over green and blue
And every place I travel through, I find
Some kinda sign that you’ve been through

But Amsterdam was always good for grieving
And London never fails to leave me blue
Paris never was my kinda town
So I walked around with the Fort Worth blues

 

 

2,603 comments Add your comment

flange1

April 8th, 2009
2:54 pm

Thanks for the new blog DOB!

Braveone

April 8th, 2009
2:55 pm

Braves ERA is the same as Mr Blutarsky’s grade point average: ZERO POINT ZERO! Vazquez, keep the zeros coming & go for the sweep over the Phils!

Smyrna Jim

April 8th, 2009
2:57 pm

Good job, DOB! Go Braves!

bravos

April 8th, 2009
3:01 pm

Chipper is my favorite player of all time but, sitting out with a bruised finger you have got to be kidding me. Going for the rare sweep against the phillies he needs to be in there.

Thrillhouse44

April 8th, 2009
3:02 pm

cphizzle, if you read the quotes from Chipper, he wasn’t in the first two games just because it was new. I believe he said something like “there’s nothing at the end of that tunnel I haven’t seen 100 times.”

GA, out. P-90 Diaz in.

sidslidkid

April 8th, 2009
3:02 pm

It’s getting close to first pitch. Gonna miss that big redneck at third today though. He better be in the lineup Friday.

Thrillhouse44

April 8th, 2009
3:03 pm

You want him in there with no bat speed or top-hand strength, bravos? Why, so he can go 0-4 and you can complain about that tomorrow?

David O'Brien

April 8th, 2009
3:03 pm

Just posted that new blog when literally, a minute or so later, Braves announced that G. Anderson was scratched with a “tweaked” calf-muscle strain, same calf he strained in camp. Right calf. More later, but obviously too late to get anything other than what Braves give us on that, until after game.

NEW LINEUP for BRAVES
1. Infante, 3B
2. Johson, 2B
3. Escobar, SS
4. McCann, C
5. Kotchman, 1B
6. Francoeur, RF
7. Diaz, LF
8. Schafer, C

Brandon

April 8th, 2009
3:05 pm

Dang two games in and the injury bug bites.

JJ

April 8th, 2009
3:05 pm

Hate if for GA. Dude can rake against Joe Blanton. We’ll see how good our bench really is.

fleming

April 8th, 2009
3:06 pm

Game on WIFN for you internet only users. Go to http://www.freebaseballradio.com/Atlanta.html and click on the WIFN link

cphizzle

April 8th, 2009
3:08 pm

all thats at the end of chippers tunnel im afraid is the DL

Tapate50

April 8th, 2009
3:08 pm

Hate to be all doomy and gloomy but two guys in one day… GREAT.

Jeff321

April 8th, 2009
3:09 pm

Ah, not very happy about G-Anderson playing the injury card again. Oh well, at least Chipper has someone to keep him company now.

Daybed Wagmoe

April 8th, 2009
3:10 pm

NEW LINEUP for BRAVES
1. Infante, 3B
2. Johson, 2B
3. Escobar, SS
4. McCann, C
5. Kotchman, 1B
6. Francoeur, RF
7. Diaz, LF
8. Schafer, C

Uh-oh…who’s playing CF??? Looks like Francoeur and Diaz will be covering a LOT of ground today with TWO catchers! ;)

DAP

April 8th, 2009
3:11 pm

why is the game delayed?

DWW

April 8th, 2009
3:11 pm

I like that line up.

cphizzle

April 8th, 2009
3:12 pm

freakin phillies are gettin there rings best enjoy cause that will be the last unless they pop the top on a box of cracker jacks and hope for the best

Jeff321

April 8th, 2009
3:13 pm

>why is the game delayed?

I think because the Phillies are getting their rings.

flange1

April 8th, 2009
3:13 pm

Daybed,

The outfielder situation is interesting, but how about the 2 catchers? Will one catch inside pitches and one catch outside pitches?

Brandon

April 8th, 2009
3:13 pm

Ring ceremony DAP

lewie

April 8th, 2009
3:13 pm

damn, having both chip and GA out is not a good sign…we’re only on the third game and being forced to sit starters

RHR

April 8th, 2009
3:13 pm

UGH. We’re in another fight, DOB. You just had to go there with that poll.

RHR

April 8th, 2009
3:15 pm

Epinephrine

April 8th, 2009
3:15 pm

Yikes, yikes yikes. Time for Diaz to show us something. We are going to need a brilliant performance from Javy.

But I will say it’s nice to have started off the year winning a series.

mbatl

April 8th, 2009
3:16 pm

Maybe that ’splains the seeming lack of hustle on a couple of batted balls last night for Garret.

Wow, welcome to major league baseball. Early wins are nice (of course they count in the standings and make everybody feel good), but judging a team in April is like picking the winner of a marathon based on who’s leading after the first mile.

Health, and the depth to deal with injuries, are such a huge component of a 162-game season.

keylargo

April 8th, 2009
3:16 pm

Marlins win and go to 3 – 0. Need the sweep to stay even.

ContactBuzz

April 8th, 2009
3:16 pm

**Uh-oh…who’s playing CF??? Looks like Francoeur and Diaz will be covering a LOT of ground today with TWO catchers! **

Vazquez Ks alot of guys so Coxy is employing a shift.

PI Braves

April 8th, 2009
3:16 pm

game’s also on WGNS. Just click the link in this site – http://www.freebaseballradio.com/Atlanta.html

Listening from the philippines at 3AM in the morning :) Dang, down 2 before the 1st pitch. Oh well, we’ll see how the others adjust. I’m guessing Diaz and Infante will step up in today’s game.

Go Braves!

Seymour1948

April 8th, 2009
3:16 pm

I wouldn’t worry about Diaz in there instead of GA. It’s really like substituting one starter for another, really (and with Diaz probably the better hitter at this very moment in time).

choozer

April 8th, 2009
3:16 pm

Kotchman batting 5th …. mmm, that’s no protection for McCann :(

Doc Holiday

April 8th, 2009
3:17 pm

Eric from MO,
KJ is a good 2b……..but his glove is average at best……I would say it is slightly below average………I dont care what numbers say……..he makes the mostdumb errors……there is no forgiveness to 75% of them.

On the Chipper side……..Im not worried about that………I said before season started he needed to resta game a week……..this could be considered his rest game for this week….I can live with that.

cphizzle

April 8th, 2009
3:17 pm

marlins piss me off they load up win a world series then unload with a bunch of nonames and still win…whats up with that

Bubdylan

April 8th, 2009
3:18 pm

“CHIPPER scratched with a bruised thumb”

The fool! Tell him to scratch with one of his non-bruised fingers.

*Ba-dum-bum, Pshhhhh*

Tip your waiter.

ArkyTech

April 8th, 2009
3:18 pm

Schafer can catch, too? What a BEAST!

Epinephrine

April 8th, 2009
3:18 pm

Cphizzle, how bad the Nats pitching is what is up with that. I just hope they don’t decide to rebound against us.

Eric from MO

April 8th, 2009
3:19 pm

For someone who watches MLBTV how do I get the Stop and fastforward Logo to get off the screen when it is on full screen?

Original Jon

April 8th, 2009
3:19 pm

The game is also on WSPG 1400

Eric from MO

April 8th, 2009
3:19 pm

Nevermind got it off.

cphizzle

April 8th, 2009
3:19 pm

thats bubdylan folks appears here regularly on the DOB Show

Eric from MO

April 8th, 2009
3:21 pm

k. once I said that it popped back up and I cant get it off. Any help?

Heath (Cleveland)

April 8th, 2009
3:21 pm

What’s the delay for? Has game started?

cphizzle

April 8th, 2009
3:21 pm

playing the nats dont ever hurt matters any but they always pesky when it comes to playin the braves

Epinephrine

April 8th, 2009
3:21 pm

Eric from Mo, move your mouse away from the screen.

lewie

April 8th, 2009
3:22 pm

i think that the nats won last yrs series with us

TnBrian

April 8th, 2009
3:22 pm

I hope we’re not going to have to back the first aid bus into the Braves clubhouse this year! Chipper’s bruise doesn’t bother me, but any injury right now after last year’s health collapse will get a Braves fans heart pumping.

PI Braves

April 8th, 2009
3:22 pm

Just noticed also that WGNS is abut 5-10 second faster than the broadcast from WIFN.

TnBrian

April 8th, 2009
3:23 pm

DANG! Blanton is FAT!

fleming

April 8th, 2009
3:23 pm

Schafer is so fast that he starts off behind the plate as a catcher and then when the pitch is made McCann shifts over and Schafer runs to cover CF

Nobody Special

April 8th, 2009
3:24 pm

Infante’s career OBP is actually lower than Francoeur’s. Who the heck thought batting him leadoff was a wise idea?

PI Braves

April 8th, 2009
3:24 pm

..which is 2 or 3 pitches delayed..based on Gameday pitch by pitch

cphizzle

April 8th, 2009
3:24 pm

im surprised schafer is as fast as he is with those massive things he has for ears good thing this is a blog or he might hear me all the way down here in the AL

Wes

April 8th, 2009
3:25 pm

Love the idea of our bench getting tested early.

Eric, it should go away automatically on fullscreen…

Stephen

April 8th, 2009
3:26 pm

escobar wooooooo

WestPalmDawg

April 8th, 2009
3:26 pm

Wes=WestPalmDawg

Hear it.

lewie

April 8th, 2009
3:26 pm

not too much life in those first 2 abs

Stephen

April 8th, 2009
3:27 pm

BMAC HOMERUN BABY

DWW

April 8th, 2009
3:27 pm

bravesgrl4life

April 8th, 2009
3:27 pm

Smyrna Jim

April 8th, 2009
3:27 pm

Go MAC!!! Happy Birthday again, McFann!

winterville

April 8th, 2009
3:27 pm

HAPPY BIRTHDAY MCFANN!

David O'Brien

April 8th, 2009
3:27 pm

Uh, is there anything that can stop these Braves? Scratch a couple more guys, let’s see.

keylargo

April 8th, 2009
3:27 pm

Happy Birthday from BMAC McFann!

Nobody Special

April 8th, 2009
3:27 pm

Happy Birthday McFann.

Brandon

April 8th, 2009
3:27 pm

wow BMAC homer

bravesgrl4life

April 8th, 2009
3:27 pm

Game is also on 96.1 in Atlanta

Renegator

April 8th, 2009
3:27 pm

Seriously, does Bobby just draw names out of a hat to see who is going to leadoff each game?

lewie

April 8th, 2009
3:27 pm

HEAP!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Nick

April 8th, 2009
3:27 pm

Happy Birthday!!!

BBFCFM

April 8th, 2009
3:27 pm

So double by Escobar?

Tom O'Hawke

April 8th, 2009
3:27 pm

Happy Birthday, again, McFann

JTLUK

April 8th, 2009
3:27 pm

I think that one was for your birthday McFann

PI Braves

April 8th, 2009
3:27 pm

Tapate50

April 8th, 2009
3:27 pm

Brandon

April 8th, 2009
3:28 pm

Casey a base hit

David O'Brien

April 8th, 2009
3:28 pm

Three straight games, first inning 2-0 lead and homer, twice by McCann. Wow

sidslidkid

April 8th, 2009
3:28 pm

Stephen

April 8th, 2009
3:28 pm

atta boy kotch

Nick

April 8th, 2009
3:28 pm

Hey, a hit for Kotchman, too :)

cphizzle

April 8th, 2009
3:28 pm

thata baby mccann

BBFCFM

April 8th, 2009
3:28 pm

wow. this gameday is waay behind

Heath (Cleveland)

April 8th, 2009
3:28 pm

The new BIG MAC!

RC

April 8th, 2009
3:28 pm

Man, it stinks that Mac has no protection in the lineup today…. :)

jwilli120

April 8th, 2009
3:28 pm

mcann unloads for a 2 run homer

ncscoots

April 8th, 2009
3:28 pm

I don’t know if it’s a sign or not, but, brother, when you can add both “woose” and “What a bunch of whiny arse maroons” to blog lingo on the same day…well, I call that a damn productive day. Both rank up there with YAI in blog lore, as far as I’m concerned.

Woose. I love it. And I’m gonna call someone a “whiny arse maroon” at the very first opportunity; heck, might even use it on a friend, if no ruffian is imminently available.

Unfortunately, the male [woose] can’t use the hole, after it’s dug. Its damn rack is too big.

And all this time, I had no idea Annie Wersching was a male woose.

Stephen

April 8th, 2009
3:28 pm

And jeff jumps on the first pitch, sigh.

RHR

April 8th, 2009
3:28 pm

Happy birthday McCann! :lol:

Mlb at bat for iphone sucks, btw. It may just be my connection but I keep getting kicked back to the home screen. Kicked off 3 times already in the 1st inning.

Smyrna Jim

April 8th, 2009
3:28 pm

K, K, 2B, HR, Single, Fly out.

Bayou Brave

April 8th, 2009
3:29 pm

I voted for BLANK.

jwilli120

April 8th, 2009
3:29 pm

esco was on 2nd

DAP

April 8th, 2009
3:29 pm

ive been waiting to say it. happy birthday mcfann!

Woogidy

April 8th, 2009
3:29 pm

McCann = Broken promises. No dance around third.

Kurdt Kobain

April 8th, 2009
3:29 pm

I like this… spotting our starters 2 runs before every game. Seems to relax them.

RC

April 8th, 2009
3:29 pm

Should we still call him Big Mac? Or due to his recent weight loss, maybe Little Mac is more appropriate? (of Mike Tyson’s Punchout fame)

Eric from MO

April 8th, 2009
3:29 pm

Epinephrine I cant do that when it is on fullscreen. Thats my problem. Is there any way to fix it.

jwilli120

April 8th, 2009
3:30 pm

braves 2 phillies coming to bat

David from NY

April 8th, 2009
3:30 pm

Let’s see what Vazquez does with a nice little lead.

McFann ;Ô;

April 8th, 2009
3:30 pm

YOU GUYS WERE RIGHT!!! THANKS, BMAC!!!

No electric slide, though. Sorry, Bub. :P

Now, Braves, don’t spoil it, please! BEAT THEM FILLIES!!!

McFann ;Ô;

April 8th, 2009
3:30 pm

Thanks, DAP!

DiamondbackMac

April 8th, 2009
3:31 pm

It’s like deja vous all over again.

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