Chipper’s back in lineup; SS Hicks gets 1st start

SAN FRANCISCO – Birthday boy Chipper Jones is back in the Bravos’ lineup today as they try to complete their first series sweep. He rested a sore right knee Saturday, and he didn’t sound entirely convinced that playing today was a wise decision.

As he worked on a crossword puzzle in the clubhouse a couple of hours before the first pitch, I asked him if the knee felt better today.

This was Chipper Jones (left) in Friday's game, when he had a two-run double in 4-1 series-opening win over Giants. He had another two-run double in the first inning of today's series finale.

This was Chipper Jones (left) in Friday's game, when he had a two-run double in 4-1 series-opening win over Giants. He had another two-run double in the first inning of today's series finale.

“Not really. I haven’t moved around at all yet,” he said. “But it felt a little better from a standpoint of the treatment I had on it.

“It’s probably risky out there on that wet track, but I think I need to be in there today.”

Well, alrighty then. Happy birthday and happy Easter.

He’s 39 today, and the Braves hope Chipper can hit today like he has on many previous birthdays. In 11 birthday games, he’s hit .419 (18-for-43) with 10 runs, four HRs and 10 RBIs, including a two-homer game in 2001.

And this might be the best stat of all for Braves fans: The team was 9-2 in those games.

(By the way, while I’m thinking about it, where would this Giants series in San Francisco have rated with you all if we’d asked before the season for you to name the most likely first sweep of the season for Atlanta? It’s their seventh series of the season, and I would’ve put the first six ahead of this one if asked that question before the season.)

Anyway, as for Chipper’s knee, you probably know from what we wrote previously that he said it’s been sore for about 10 days and worsened during the series opener Friday night on a cool, damp night by the bay. (He thought the chilly conditions might’ve contributed, is why we mention the weather.)

As for the “wet track” today, I’m not sure if the field is actually going to be wet by the time this one starts. The sun’s been out a while now, the drizzle stopped late morning, and there’s a breeze.

As manager Fredi Gonzalez said yesterday, he hoped that Chipper would be ready to play today so that he wouldn’t have both the third baseman and catcher Brian McCann out of the lineup at once. McCann has a scheduled day off today, and David Ross is in there catching. And singing.

Have we mentioned that the Braves have had a good-luck song going the past few days? It’s Eddie Money’s  “Shakin’,” and Ross is usually the one singing it in the clubhouse (and dancing a bit to it; if only we had video of that).

♣ Gonzo gets a rest: The other lineup news is at shortstop, where rookie Brandon Hicks will make his first major league start and Alex Gonzalez gets his first day off this season.

“He’s played every inning of every game,” Fredi G. said of Alex G. “We need to give him a little breather. He hasn’t missed a game. Doubleheader, day game after night game, he’s played them all.”

Hicks (right) won roster spot with strong spring. Today he gets his first start as shortstop Alex Gonzalez gets his first rest of the season.

Hicks (right) won roster spot with strong spring. Today he gets his first start as shortstop Alex Gonzalez gets his first rest of the season.

Hicks, 25, said he did a double-take when he walked past the lineup card when it was posted on the clubhouse wall, about an hour after he arrived at AT&T Park. Fredi hadn’t told him the night before that he might be starting, perhaps so he wouldn’t have too much time to think about it.

“Probably a good idea,” Hicks said, smiling.

He’s played in five games and has only four plate appearances (0-for-4), all as a pinch-hitter. Hicks, who won a roster spot in large part because of his improved hitting during spring training, is excited about getting a chance to have multiple at-bats in one game.

♣ McLouth’s throws: Braves center fielder Nate McClouth has raised a few eyebrows with his throws this season and last, or in some cases with his decisions not to throw.

Some of have wondered why the one-time Gold Glover (2008 with Pittsburgh) has opted to hang onto some balls rather than attempt throws when it appeared he had at least a chance to cut down a runner at the plate or on the bases.

In Saturday’s game, there was another instance, although in this one there was at least a mitigating factor. With Pat Burrell at second base, Cody Ross’s RBI single to shallow center was one of those balls where outfielders have to make a decision: Do they commit and try a hard-charging catch coming in and risk the ball getting past them and becoming a triple, or take the safer route, hold off and let it land in front of them for a single?

McLouth let it drop. But the problem came – or at least appeared this way on replays – when he didn’t get himself in position to quickly make a strong throw to the plate. Burrell isn’t a fast runner — at all — but he scored from second base when McLouth made a not-very-good throw to the cutoff man.

I asked McLouth about the play.

“It was like a line drive where it was kind of in-between, where I didn’t know if I couldn’t have caught it if I’d gone in. And then by the time I kind of stopped to let it bounce, I couldn’t get as much on the throw as I wanted to. It was just one of those in-between [balls] where I couldn’t charge it hard, because then it might have bounced right there and gotten past me.”

My next question was about his throws in general, and whether he thought his arm was as strong as it had been in the past.

“My shoulder still bothers me a little bit from that thing that I had in spring training,” he said, referring to a tumble he took when trying to avoid a collision with Marlins pitcher Josh Johnson, which left him with a sore shoulder and out of the lineup for several games.

“But I feel like … I haven’t had a ton of chances to throw, but I made a couple of good throws in L.A., in that first game. I haven’t had a ton of chances to throw, but it feels OK.

“The most important thing for an outfielder, you don’t get a ton of chances to throw guys out, but you just don’t want to let that other guy advance. You want to hit the cutoff man, make sure on that kind of stuff.”

♣Today’s matchup: Braves rookie Brandon Beachy, coming of his first major league win, tries to make it two in a row against Giants lefty Jonathan Sanchez.

As Freddie Freeman said this morning, Sanchez is “effectively wild.” So it’ll be important for the Braves to do what they did so well against Tim Lincecum Saturday, when they didn’t chase pitches out of the strike zone and let him get ahead in counts.

Lincecum had a career-high six walks and was charged with six hits and five runs in 6-1/3 innings, and fell to 1-3 with a 5.11 ERA in his past four regular-season starts against the Braves.

“That’s why we were able to get him out of there quicker, we were patient,” Freeman said. “That’s how this team won last year, they were so patient last year. We’ve just got to work on our walks; well, you don’t have to work on walks, you just have to work on being aggressive in the strike zone, not aggressive [on balls out of the strike zone.]”

Sanchez is 1-3 with a 6.00 ERA in seven games against the Braves, including 1-2 with a 5.55 ERA in five starts. He has 29 strikeouts with nine walks in 24-1/3 innings of those five starts against them.

This seasons he’s 2-1 with a 3.13 ERA in four starts, including 2-0 with a 3.65 ERA in his past two. He had 13 strikeouts and six walks in 12-1/3 innings of those past two, wins against the Dodgers and Rockies in which he got a lot of run support.

Check out this stat: Lefty hitters are just 2-for-19 against him with one walk and a .136 on-base percentage.Righties are 18-for-67 (.269) with a .384 OBP.

With runners in scoring position, he’s held hitters to 2-for-17 with one walk.

♣ Heyward’s big vs. Giants: After going 0-for-5 with four strikeouts in his first game against the Giants last season, Jason Heyward is 10-for-25 (.400) with two homers, six walks, a. 516 OBP and .720 slugging in his past eight games against them.

BRAVES LINEUP

  1. Prado LF
  2. Heyward RF
  3. Jones 3B
  4. Uggla 2B
  5. Freeman 1B
  6. Ross C
  7. McLouth CF
  8. Hicks SS
  9. Beachy RHP

♦ OK, gotta get this posted before first pitch. Before we head back to the southern end of the Golden State, let’s close with one last San Francisco-flavored tune. We turn to our man Tom Waits again for this one, from his terrific Small Change album back in the day. You can enjoy it by clicking here.

tom-waits

“THE ONE THAT GOT AWAY” by Tom Waits

The jigolo’s jumpin salty
ain’t no trade out on the streets
half past the unlucky
and the hawk’s a front-row seat
dressed in full orquestration
stage door johnnys got to pay
and sent him home
talking bout the one that got away

could a been on easy street
could a been a wheel
with irons in the fire
and all them business deals
But the last of the big-time losers
shouted before he drove away
I’ll be right back as soon as I crack
the one that got away

the ambulance drivers don’t give a shit
they just want to get off work
and the short stop and the victim
have already gone berserk
and the shroud-tailor measures him
for a deep-six holiday
the stiff is froze, the case is closed
on the one that got away

Jim Crow’s directing traffic
with them cemetery blues
with them peculiar looking trousers
them old Italian shoes
the wooden kimona was all ready
to drop in San Francisco Bay
but now he’s mumbling something
all about the one that got away

Costello was the champion
at the St. Moritz Hotel
and the best this side of Fairfax,
reliable sources tell
but his reputation is at large
and he’s at Ben Frank’s every day
waiting for the one that got away

he’s got a snake skin sportshirt,
and he looks like Vincent Price
with a little piece of chicken
and he’s carving off a slice
but someone tipped her off
she’ll be doing a Houdini now any day
she shook his hustle
and a Greyhound bus’ll
take the one that got away

Andre is at the piano
behind the Ivar in the sewers
with a buck a shot for pop tunes,
and a fin for guided tours
He could of been in Casablanca
he stood in line out there all day
but now he’s spilling whiskey
and learning songs about a one that got away

well I’ve lost my equilibrium
my car keys and my pride
tattoo parlor’s warm
and so I huddle there inside
the grinding of the buzz saw
whatchuwanthathingtosay
just don’t misspell her name
buddy she’s the one that got away

2,154 comments Add your comment

Billy Jack's Barbecue & Shrimp Co.

April 24th, 2011
4:05 pm

go braves !!!

BFChris26

April 24th, 2011
4:07 pm

Coach (2011 Fredi G. a Go!)

April 24th, 2011
4:07 pm

SWEEEEEP!!!!!

Venice Jim

April 24th, 2011
4:08 pm

Good start, Marteeennn…

bravesgrl4life

April 24th, 2011
4:09 pm

Thanks for the new blog, DOB! Nice walk for Marteen; come on JHey!

JasonInFL

April 24th, 2011
4:09 pm

Good stuff and Happy Easter DOB.

Venice Jim

April 24th, 2011
4:10 pm

Excellent shot by Jason…

bravesgrl4life

April 24th, 2011
4:10 pm

Yes, Jason!!!

Tbraves

April 24th, 2011
4:11 pm

Atta boy JHey!!!
Our boy is back…cmmon bday boy

LAG

April 24th, 2011
4:11 pm

That’s what we like to see.

David O'Brien

April 24th, 2011
4:11 pm

And just like that, two in scoring position with none out for Chipper after walk and Heyward double

Venice Jim

April 24th, 2011
4:12 pm

Chipper – Happy Birthday RBIs!!!

BFChris26

April 24th, 2011
4:12 pm

Chipper!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

bravesgrl4life

April 24th, 2011
4:12 pm

Mike

April 24th, 2011
4:13 pm

Attaboy Chip!

Tbraves

April 24th, 2011
4:13 pm

Those are some shiny undersleaves chipper is wearing!
Happy bday buddy!
Man….that fan lost a great seat after 1 inning!!!

BFChris26

April 24th, 2011
4:13 pm

Happy B-Day Chipper 8-)

Bravefaninok

April 24th, 2011
4:13 pm

Welcome back Braves Offence…..we have missed thee oh so much.

LAG

April 24th, 2011
4:13 pm

Chipper likes his birthday, doesn’t he?

Stupid fan.

David O'Brien

April 24th, 2011
4:13 pm

Well that’s one way to start a game, eh?

Mike

April 24th, 2011
4:14 pm

JasonInFL

April 24th, 2011
4:14 pm

Sweeeeeeeeeeeeeet!

Tbraves

April 24th, 2011
4:14 pm

Popeye……
U need to move the runner over…bad AB

Freddie Freeman

April 24th, 2011
4:14 pm

that was an Uggla at bat … very unproductive

JasonInFL

April 24th, 2011
4:14 pm

‘Nother terrible AB by Uggs. Come on Uggs, gotta snap out of it big guy. I thought today was going to be the day…still could be.

Tomahawkin

April 24th, 2011
4:14 pm

Come On Fab 5 Freddie!

shmoe

April 24th, 2011
4:14 pm

shaping up to be a good game

bravesgrl4life

April 24th, 2011
4:15 pm

Not quite another feeble offensive performance

April 24th, 2011
4:15 pm

Some STUPID Giants fan just got ejected from the game for picking up the ball that Chipper hit for a double. What a MORON!

The view from here is FANTASTIC! Both of those ropes that Heyward and Chipper hit were great to see. Sanchez doesnt look like he has it today.

LAG

April 24th, 2011
4:15 pm

Man. Freddie gave that one a ride though…

Freddie Freeman

April 24th, 2011
4:15 pm

should be 3 nothing but that Uggla guy ……

Tbraves

April 24th, 2011
4:16 pm

i like that 3-0 swing….almost got it out

Had Popeye moved the runner over we would have a 3-0 game

JasonInFL

April 24th, 2011
4:17 pm

Green lighted FF on 3-0?

PHILLIES PHAN PHOR LIFE 2011 NL CHAMPS

April 24th, 2011
4:17 pm

My Phils have this division in the bag! Have fun battling the Marlins for 2nd place, it’s ours! Also, have fun watching Fredi “I can’t manage a bullpen” Gonzalez blow multiple games. Our pitchers don’t even have to try against your crappy lineup. They just swing at every pitch. I think half your lineup has an OBP of under .250!

bravesgrl4life

April 24th, 2011
4:18 pm

Okay, Brandon, don’t give ‘em back now.

FEAR

April 24th, 2011
4:18 pm

2 sweet!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Ward

April 24th, 2011
4:18 pm

Great blog DOB! Alright……..good start……

Tbraves

April 24th, 2011
4:19 pm

28 pitches….and 2 runs…

Not bad…not bad at all to have that feeling in our favor…

Beachy has had some good scouting reports live the last 2 days with Hanson and Hudson….cmmon

Tomahawkin

April 24th, 2011
4:19 pm

Uggs is starting to P’s me off. If he is gonna suck, bat him 6th or 7th, he is killing us in the 5 hole

but good job in that Sanchez has already thrown 28 pitches

eric the elder

April 24th, 2011
4:19 pm

Uggla made zero effort to go to the right side. Pulling all the way. Someone needs to have a talk with that boy.

Tomahawkin

April 24th, 2011
4:19 pm

Or the 4th hole as he is hitting in today

Freddie Freeman

April 24th, 2011
4:20 pm

“My Phils have this division in the bag!”

lol you sure did put a lot of “thought” into writing that paragraph for some reason

Tbraves

April 24th, 2011
4:21 pm

“My Phils have this division in the bag!”

Puke bag???

FEAR

April 24th, 2011
4:21 pm

told ya turn around baby

shmoe

April 24th, 2011
4:22 pm

i predict a breakout game for beachy today. 8K

Tomahawkin

April 24th, 2011
4:22 pm

FEAR

April 24th, 2011
4:23 pm

its cuz im listening to making plans for nigel covered by primus

Loosing Managar = Loosing Record

April 24th, 2011
4:23 pm

Are the Braves loosing yet?

macks big breakfast

April 24th, 2011
4:23 pm

Joe just said they are giving Uggla a day off in SD. Why he hasnt done anything yet?
Maybe he needs to go back to Memphis State

bravesgrl4life

April 24th, 2011
4:23 pm

Tbraves

April 24th, 2011
4:23 pm

Beachy not hitting his spots…..
But the stuff he is throwing looks good….easy cheese/nice curve

Tomahawkin

April 24th, 2011
4:25 pm

Nice Inning BB!

Tbraves

April 24th, 2011
4:25 pm

Beachy always seems to start off wild….once he settles down he gets better….like in LA

macks big breakfast

April 24th, 2011
4:25 pm

forgot my name its Matt maybe I need to go to Memphis with Uggla

Brava

April 24th, 2011
4:25 pm

Awesome first inning!!!

shmoe

April 24th, 2011
4:25 pm

nice shutdown inning. couple of rockets though

Mike

April 24th, 2011
4:25 pm

Great start for Beach!

bravesgrl4life

April 24th, 2011
4:25 pm

Nice inning, BB :)

JasonInFL

April 24th, 2011
4:26 pm

Good 1st, BB. Keep the momentum on our side and get the bats right back up there!

Freddie "I am Free as a Bird" Freeman

April 24th, 2011
4:26 pm

good first inning for Beachy

Ward

April 24th, 2011
4:26 pm

Phillies Fan For Life 2011 NL Champions:Your team might be in first,but you have no class just like your team, and they will choke in the Play -Offs again,so bite me!

LAG

April 24th, 2011
4:26 pm

I hope your misspelling is on purpose, LM=LR…

Brava

April 24th, 2011
4:26 pm

Loosing Managar = Loosing Record

Are the Braves loosing yet?

No, just you.

Loosing Managar = Loosing Record

April 24th, 2011
4:26 pm

Uggla is an old indian word that means man who cant hit

kenhotlanta

April 24th, 2011
4:27 pm

Interesting that PL runs into so many “friends” at the Giants park that want to do things for or with him. I’ve lived in Atlanta most of my life and know a lot of people, used to go to 20-25 Braves games a year, and rarely ran into anyone I knew. I doubt he is actually at the game at all, but probably listening to it in his momma’s basement. On second thought, he probably lives in a group home.

Pierson Brave

April 24th, 2011
4:27 pm

Come on guys. I feel so let down that the Chipper bashers are not spouting off at the keyboard. Come on get with the program or did mommy turn off her computer?

Tbraves

April 24th, 2011
4:28 pm

Hicks looks bigger than last year!
That stand reminds me a bit of Mark DeRosa

FEAR

April 24th, 2011
4:30 pm

ok beachhead lets go….GI joe refernce

Ward

April 24th, 2011
4:30 pm

Loosing Manager=Loosing Record: which = You have a loosing name. Spelled dumb-ass.

Brava

April 24th, 2011
4:31 pm

Someone needs to tell Beachy that he’s supposed to swing the bat. :)

One-Eyed Mac

April 24th, 2011
4:31 pm

Any ideas as to who the Braves will call up when they send Gearrin back down? Unless they wait 10 days Young won’t be eligible to come back yet.

Loosing Managar = Loosing Record

April 24th, 2011
4:33 pm

Why U call me names Ward? What do I did 2 you?

JasonInFL

April 24th, 2011
4:33 pm

I don’t know why, but I simply do not like Buster Posey.

jeffrey d

April 24th, 2011
4:33 pm

Unless they wait 10 days Young won’t be eligible to come back yet.

uh oh

Tomahawkin

April 24th, 2011
4:34 pm

Ho Sit Down!

Buster Poser!

shmoe

April 24th, 2011
4:34 pm

schooled the posey

Tbraves

April 24th, 2011
4:34 pm

Sit down Poser

Bravefaninok

April 24th, 2011
4:35 pm

Beachy locked him up……I like this kid!

jeffrey d

April 24th, 2011
4:35 pm

I like Posey…good guy, great ballplayer, Atlanta native

jeffrey d

April 24th, 2011
4:35 pm

Ho Sit Down!

Not getting old, is it?

Tbraves

April 24th, 2011
4:35 pm

Ump closing the zone on Beachy

Tomahawkin

April 24th, 2011
4:36 pm

JasonInFL

“I don’t know why, but I simply do not like Buster Posey.”

Its Simple, BSPN Has him labeled as the next Johnny Bench

I have no love for Buster Poser either

Tomahawkin

April 24th, 2011
4:37 pm

jeffrey d

[Ho Sit Down!]

“Not getting old, is it?”

Nope, even Chip Caray is saying it, lol

FEAR

April 24th, 2011
4:37 pm

get the hot tub ready in frisco!!!!

Tomahawkin

April 24th, 2011
4:38 pm

Mike

April 24th, 2011
4:38 pm

FEAR

April 24th, 2011
4:38 pm

Tomahawkin – you are funny as hell man

Tomahawkin

April 24th, 2011
4:38 pm

BB Hitting 95?

Nice!

And Ho Sit Down!

shmoe

April 24th, 2011
4:39 pm

schooled pat the bat

Bravefaninok

April 24th, 2011
4:39 pm

Nastyyyyyyyyyyyyyyy…….

Bat Masterson

April 24th, 2011
4:39 pm

I like Posey…good guy, great ballplayer, Atlanta native

I think he is from Leesburg, Ga

Venice Jim

April 24th, 2011
4:39 pm

Not a bad inning…

jeffrey d

April 24th, 2011
4:39 pm

Its Simple, BSPN Has him labeled as the next Johnny Bench

Must have missed that episode of CrapCenter. Bank On It!!!

Tbraves

April 24th, 2011
4:39 pm

Beachy is painting that outside corner…wow this kids stuff looks good

Brava

April 24th, 2011
4:39 pm

Beachy is mighty peachy so far today!

Ward

April 24th, 2011
4:39 pm

Just don’t knock Uggla, and you will be fine. All is cool…..

jeffrey d

April 24th, 2011
4:39 pm

I meant Georgia native.

FEAR

April 24th, 2011
4:40 pm

jeff d – funny!!!

Tomahawkin

April 24th, 2011
4:41 pm

Come On Martini!

Nova Scotia Steve

April 24th, 2011
4:41 pm

Beachy looking good this afternoon folks…be nice to get this sweep and awful nice to climb up to .500 here pretty soon.

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