Baltimore – It’s a lovely afternoon for baseball in Baltimore. Humidity is much lower, and it’s breezy. Great. Wish you were here….And hey, at least one of you is, if I remember right!
So let’s talk Chipper Jones. He comes into today’s game hungry for a hit, and in the rarest of positions for him, an 0-for-18 slump. It’s Jones’ longest hitless streak since he went 0-for-18 in 2005, and if he has a handful more of fruitless at-bats, he’s in danger of matching his career-high streak of 0-for-23. The last time he went that long without a hit was August 3-9, 2000.
Chipper being Chipper, and great to the media, he doesn’t flinch or bristle when you walk up to him and start asking about it. He knows it’s news, the way he’s swung the bat the last couple of years especially. So his take?
“My mind is telling me one thing, and my body is doing another thing,” Jones said. “I’m thinking up the middle and the other way, and my body is in pulling mode.”
The result is that groundball to second when he’s hitting left-handed. Jones said his last two games in Baltimore have been pretty bad, but the two prior games against the Pirates, he said he had four line drives in eight at-bats. He’s not overly worried.
Though I have to say, I got a kick out of the exchange between Jon Sciambi and Jones in the clubhouse when a few of us were standing there at Chipper’s locker.
“You called your dad yet?” Sciambi said.
“No,” Jones said, but there was a twinkle in his eye.
“When does that happen?” Sciambi said.
“Today or tomorrow,” Jones said, smiling.
I, for one, can’t see him staying in this long. He’s DHing today, which takes him a little out of his routine, but the ball he hit in his last at-bat last night was roped. And I’d say he’s pretty determined not to see this thing stretch to 0-for-23. He’ll have to test out the waters against a guy he’s never faced in Brad Bergesen.
Francoeur trade rumors
The Miami Herald reported today that the Florida Marlins rejected a trade offer of Jeff Francoeur for Cody Ross a few weeks back. I got a no comment from the Braves on the subject officially, but from what I understand there were some discussions with the Marlins but it lost steam after the Braves traded for center fielder Nate McLouth trade.
The Marlins would seem to have a greater need in center field than the corner spots anyway – Cameron Maybin struggled and was sent to the minors. Ross is a guy they can count on to play both center field (19 games) and right field (13 games), and he’s hitting .267 with 10 home runs and 39 RBIs.
For Jeff, this is the second time in a few weeks his name has surfaced in trade rumors – the last one when reports indicated the Red Sox might have interest in Francoeur.
For his part, Francoeur is trying not to let that get to him.
“If it’s going to happen, it’s going to happen,” Francoeur said. “I can’t control that. I don’t have a long-term deal here. Even if I’m here next year, that stuff will keep popping up all the time because of it. That’s just part of the game. It’s a business. They have to mix and match what they want to do financially. I’m not sure if I’m in those plans or not. I’m just going to keep playing and keep doing what I do.”
Francoeur said with time, he’s gotten thicker skin about hearing his name mentioned in trade possibilities.
“After what I went through last year, it does not faze me now,” Francoeur said. “Something like that I’m sure would have bothered me last year. Now it’s like ‘Hey, what are you going to do?’ Look at Nate. Who would ever thought he was going somewhere.”
Kotchman is close
Casey Kotchman went 0-for-1 with a walk, two RBIs and a sacrifice fly Saturday for Gwinnett. Reports are he was fine and with one more good game today in Gwinnett, he’s expected to fly up and join the Braves Tuesday in Cincinnati.
The logical roster move would be to send Barbaro Canizares back to Gwinnett. He’s swung the bat well, not backing down from pitching up here, hitting .308 (4-for-13) entering Sunday’s game. He has served himself well, and the Braves have a better idea what they’ve got in him and how he handles himself up here.
This and that
Bobby Cox on Manny Acta, manager of the Nationals, whose job is dangling in the wind. He might be gone any minute, if not already….
“I like Manny,” Cox said. “I hope he stays. From what I understand, next year will be a lot different, with some young guys (pitchers) coming. There seems to be enough hitting and defense with that team. I don’t think it’s fair to go through the growing pains and not be around to get well.”
1. Nate McLouth CF
2. Yunel Escboar SS
3. Chipper Jones DH
4. Brian McCann C
5. Garret Anderson LF
6. Barbaro Canizares 1B
7. Martin Prado 3B
8. Jeff Francoeur RF
9. Kelly Johnson 2B
Pitching matchups for Cincinnati:
Tuesday: RH Jair Jurrjens (5-4, 2.85) vs. RH Aarong Harang (5-6, 3.74).
Wednesday: RH Javier Vazquez (4-5, 3.31) vs. RH Micah Owings (3-7, 4.64)
Thursday: RH Tommy Hanson (1-0, 6.17) vs. LH Matt Maloney (0-1, 4.50)