Dempster on Chipper: Best fastball hitter I ever faced

CHICAGO – Chipper Jones is out of the Braves lineup for a rest today, and Chicago Cubs pitchers are not saddened by that development.

The 39-year-old Braves third baseman had a home run and showed some savvy defense for an inning-ending unassisted double play Wednesday night in a 3-2 loss to the Cubs, the first loss in seven games for the Braves.

Chipper Jones has been on a roll in recent weeks. Cubs pitcher Ryan Dempster said the 39-year-old third baseman was "the best fastball hitter I ever played agains -- and still is."

Chipper Jones has been on a roll in recent weeks. Cubs pitcher Ryan Dempster said the 39-year-old third baseman was "the best fastball hitter I ever played agains -- and still is."

Jones, who last week said he’s definitely playing again in 2012, has hit .420 (21-for-50) with a .720 slugging percentage in his past 14 games, and has four homers and nine RBIs in his past 11 games.

“I always remember he was the best fastball hitter I ever played against, and he still is,” said Cubs pitcher Ryan Dempster, who held Jones to a single in three at-bats Monday. “I mean, you can maybe get one [fastball] by him. But if you just sit there and try to throw heaters by him, he’s going to end up whacking it, like it he did last night

“He’s still a professional hitter and he’s just so smart. He knows what guys are doing in situations, who’s throwing strikes and who’s not. So his experience, with his continued ability … as we get older, all of us, our tools aren’t quite what they used to be, but your experience takes over for that.”

Braves catcher Brian McCann said: “That’s why he’s 39 years old and he still does it every day. It’s so hard to do. For him to keep doing it and doing it is very impressive.

“He means a ton to this organization and this team. You can go to him anytime you want for advice.”

Despite having arthroscopic knee surgery and a quadriceps strain that limited him for most of July, he’s hit .367 (33-for-90) in July and August with six doubles, six homers, 15 RBIs, a .396 OBP and .633 slugging percentage in 27 games (22 starts).

He played in 13 of the Braves’ past 16 games, including 12 starts, which manager Fredi Gonzalez said is a good ratio that allows Jones to get rest every few days, particularly in a day game after a night game.

“We need to do that,” Gonzalez said. “He’s played a lot of games since he was 18 years old, a lot of significant games. There’s a lot of innings in that body. We need to be aware of that and get him an off day on a day game after a night game. And get him two when there’s a scheduled off day.

“But I’ve got a feeling he’s going to want to play all the games in New York.”

The Braves play a scheduled three-game series against the Mets starting Friday, although Hurrican Irene could force at least one game – Sunday’s forecast is terrible – to be postponed. That game could made up later or as part of a doubleheader as soon as Friday or Saturday, although Gonzalez indicated that a later makeup was more likely.

The Braves and Mets have a mutal off day Sept. 8, when the Braves are on the road between series at Philadelphia and St. Louis. It would not be difficult for them to go to New York from Philly for a game before continuing on to St. Louis.

As for Chipper, mosteveryone knows his history with the Mets, particularly at now-razed Shea Stadium. Had so much success there he named a son Shea, all that.

He hasn’t thrived at Citi Field quite like he did in his prime at Shea, but when the Braves were in New York to face the Mets three weeks ago, Jones hit one of the longest home runs of his career and one of the longest in Citi Field’s brief history.

He’s hit .303 with three homers and 10 RBIs in 10 games against the Mets this season, twice as many RBIs as any other Brave. And in his past 13 games against the Mets, he’s hit .326 (14-for-43) with five homers, 13 RBIs, eight walks and a 1.105 OPS.

His home run Wednesday was the 449th of Chipper’s career, tying Jeff Bagwell for 34th all-time. He’s third among switch-hitters behind Hall-of-Famers Mickey Mantle (536) and Eddie Murray (504).

I’m not surprised that Jones can still rake, because he’s one of the rare ballplayers I’ve covered who truly was born to hit. McCann is another.

Jones' 449th homer Wednesday tied him with retired Astros slugger Jeff Bagwell (above) for 34th on the career list.

Jones' 449th homer Wednesday tied him with retired Astros slugger Jeff Bagwell (above) for 34th on the career list.

But the defense? That has surprised me. A few years ago, I was among those who figured that Jones, by now, would have moved across the diamond to first base or possibly back to the outfield, even though he’d made it clear he preferred to stay at third.

I just figured his reflexes and skills would have diminished by now to point where he’d be a liability at third base. I was wrong..

“He can still defend,” Gonzalez said. “He’s still an average to above-average third baseman. I‘d like to see a guy who comes in on the ball better, the barehand play. [Evan] Longoria and [Ryan] Zimmerman maybe, but you’re talking 15 years younger.”

Wednesday’s game provided another example of his defense. With the bases loaded and two out in the eighth inning, and the Braves trailing by a run, Geovany Soto hit a line drive to the right of third base. If it goes past, it’s at least two runs and more likely three.

Jones sprung to his right to snare the ball, then let his momentum take him as he dove and reached out with ball in glove to tag third base before the runner could get back.

“He makes the plays, never panics,” Dempster said. “Just knowing how to play the game is huge. And it teaches the younger guys, especially when you start getting down the stretch, the playoffs. Guys see that and that’s the kind of stuff that helps. Guys see that and think, look how relaxed he is.”

One other thing about Jones’ current situation impresses Dempster, who is happy for Gonzalez, a third-base coach with the Marlins when Dempster was starting out his career with Florida.

“He’s sixth,” Dempster said. “He’s batting sixth. Awesome.”

♣ Constanza back in lineup: After missing two games with a sprained ankle, Jorge “Georgy” Constanza is back in the lineup today. He’s in left field, with Martin Prado moving to third in place of Jones, and Jason Heyward making his third consecutive start in right.

♣ OK, let’s get this posted before first pitch. We’ll close with a song a bout being down-and-out in Chicago, done by the Handsome Family band. You can hear it by clicking on this homemade video done by a couple of college students.

5800858

THE WOMAN DOWNSTAIRS” by Handsome Family

Chicago is where the woman downstairs
starved herself to death last summer
her boyfriend Ted ate hot dogs and wept
with the gray rats out on the fire escape

in a thrift store chair I drank cases of beer
and dreamed of laying down on the el tracks
the trains roared by under smoke-gray skies
Lake Michigan rose and fell like a bird

and when the wind screamed up Ashland Avenue
the corner bars were full by noon
and the old stewbums sliding down their stools
ate boiled eggs and fed beer to the dogs

the woman downstairs lost all her hair
and wore a beret in the laundry room
I borrowed her soap and bought her a Coke
but she left it on a dryer

she died in June weighing 82
her boyfriend went back to New York
the cops wandered through her dusty rooms
one of them stole her TV

and when the wind screamed up Ashland Avenue
the corner bars were full by noon
and the old stewbums sliding down their stools
ate boiled eggs and fed beer to the dogs

– David O’Brien, Braves/MIB blog

2,644 comments Add your comment

Efrim

August 25th, 2011
2:26 pm

The Phillies and Marlins will play a day-night doubleheader on Saturday.

Hopefully the Braves and Mets do the same. Love two games in one day.

MLH

August 25th, 2011
2:26 pm

George Stein

August 25th, 2011
2:28 pm

Win the series, boys.

[...] Atlanta Braves [...]

cabravesfan

August 25th, 2011
2:28 pm

MAC!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

timthebrave

August 25th, 2011
2:28 pm

Chipper=hall of fame

timthebrave

August 25th, 2011
2:28 pm

Couch Tater

August 25th, 2011
2:28 pm

3 run jack by Mac!

Efrim

August 25th, 2011
2:29 pm

Nice, way to go Heap!

Joel

August 25th, 2011
2:29 pm

Not too shabby McCann!

timthebrave

August 25th, 2011
2:29 pm

cabravesfan, Great minds think alike

Jimmy

August 25th, 2011
2:30 pm

How about that Kat!

Ease

August 25th, 2011
2:30 pm

Time to bring in Kimbrel.

bravesgrl4life

August 25th, 2011
2:30 pm

MAC!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

sorry for the delay, I was looking for the new bloggage :oops:

JC from DR!

August 25th, 2011
2:30 pm

YES MOTHERF***ER!!

An offensive explotion after last night’s bummer!

McFann :Ô: :Ô:

August 25th, 2011
2:30 pm

Thanks for the new Blog, Chief!

BMac CRUSHED that sucker!!! Hope this will be the turning-back-around point! :D

David O'Brien

August 25th, 2011
2:31 pm

McCann snapped an 0-for-15 skid with that three-run bomb to put Braves up big before first out of game

Jerry

August 25th, 2011
2:31 pm

That’s the way to bounce back Mac!

phil

August 25th, 2011
2:32 pm

Good piece, DOB….thanks.

Note, though, that the long homerun in New York came series before last in June I think it was….

Snotboogie

August 25th, 2011
2:32 pm

Man, the way Jim Powell yelled after Mac hit it, I thought it was going to land on the street outside. Forgot about the wind blowing in.

Bravefaninok

August 25th, 2011
2:32 pm

Damn I just turned on the game and 3-0 top of the 1st.

Efrim

August 25th, 2011
2:33 pm

ncscoots

August 25th, 2011
2:33 pm

Uggla and Freeman. I’d bench those scrubs, if I could find a couple of hot hands.

David O'Brien

August 25th, 2011
2:33 pm

McCann crushed that pitch, hit it into the teeth of the wind

phil

August 25th, 2011
2:33 pm

Mac should be benched for Ross….he can’t hit anymore and Ross has always been the superior player….

Mac did what?

Jerry

August 25th, 2011
2:33 pm

Freeman starting to get into bad habits at the plate.

Snotboogie

August 25th, 2011
2:34 pm

Troublemaking scoots!

Snotboogie

August 25th, 2011
2:35 pm

Ok quick – how many K’s for Beachy today?
I say 10.

ncscoots

August 25th, 2011
2:35 pm

Going rogue, SB. Hide the women and children, lay in a supply of food and ammo.

phil

August 25th, 2011
2:36 pm

This is why Mac is an all star and should play ahead of Ross….

Jimmy

August 25th, 2011
2:36 pm

Ease- “Time to bring in Kimbrel”

:-)

JC from DR!

August 25th, 2011
2:37 pm

Kat

August 25th, 2011
2:37 pm

Nice grouping of Braves fans where I’m sitting. Pic as promised…beautiful outside.

http://img231.imageshack.us/img231/1497/imag0337q.jpg

Falcons4Eva

August 25th, 2011
2:37 pm

Way to Go Brian –

To those Wacko’s on here at that always screaming at players on this team at times…just last night there were a lot of folks b!tchin about McCann in a 0-15 slum. Same turds that wanted to run Uggla out of here. Same Jackazz who want to run Heyward out of town.

Patience and Perspective.

Jerry

August 25th, 2011
2:38 pm

Beachy pitching too high in the zone.

Snotboogie

August 25th, 2011
2:39 pm

Wow! Awesome pic, Kat. Bright sun, cloudless blue sky – nice day for a ballgame.

Joel

August 25th, 2011
2:39 pm

The braves have been awful in this series holding and stopping runners.

bravesgrl4life

August 25th, 2011
2:39 pm

Nice seats, Kat, looks like a really nice day for what is normally a very hot time in Chicago.

Jerry

August 25th, 2011
2:39 pm

Okay, now I’m starting to get a bit pissed. You’ve been given a lead and this is the kind of defense that allows them to get back in the game.

ncscoots

August 25th, 2011
2:39 pm

Patience and Perspective.

I believe you are in the wrong place, my friend. :-) You are far down the rabbit-hole from that.

TnBrian

August 25th, 2011
2:39 pm

I like Dempster. Seems like a cool guy and very respectful.

I think being on a non playoff team like the Cubs can make you a little bitter and jealous towards a playoff type team. How can you hate a classy and professional team like the Braves though. Sounds like other players can respect our team for those reasons.

Damn all the errors. Looks like they get one back.

JC from DR!

August 25th, 2011
2:40 pm

I see where this is going…

MikeInFl

August 25th, 2011
2:40 pm

Time for Beachy to crank up the ol’ K machine.

Jimmy

August 25th, 2011
2:40 pm

Kat – Good shot. And there are no Cubs on base. Must have been the first pitch in the bottom of first.

Enjoy the game!!

Kat

August 25th, 2011
2:41 pm

Jimmy.. nice to see some offense early.

Shaun

August 25th, 2011
2:41 pm

You’re a fool if you believe a manager is going to risk his ample salary by not doing thing the best way only to satisfy a statistic.

Tommy T, but managers think they are doing things the best way. A smart manager that is not afraid to press the issue would go against the grain on this. And I’m not so sure some teams don’t intentionally leave the closer role to someone other than the best relievers so that they can appease the talking heads that pay attention to saves while at the same time using their bullpens as they should.

“Oh, because that’s not the way tradition, convention and consensus tells the Yankees to do it and also they have to let him rack up saves.”

Oh, probably because you still have 2 more innings so if your going to have to use 2 more pitchers. So if they come in the 7th and give up a run you still have a chance to answer over the next 2 innings rather than it be a walk off or leave you with just 3 outs to catch up… Very simple stuff here… can’t believe it’s that hard to keep up.

Well, depends on who is due up for the opponents. In a close game, if the opponent’s best hitters are due up in the 7th and Mariano is available, the Yankees should go with him there. Sometimes it’s best to save your best reliever for later, depending on who is due up and match-ups and who else is available to pitch, etc. but often times it’s not. I’m not saying always use your best reliever in the 7th. That’s not my point. I’m saying be flexible with your bullpen. Don’t manage around having a certain guy available for a save. Don’t have your relief pitchers so strictly tied to roles. Follow the Bobby Cox model: “Your role is to pitch when I tell you to.”

Jerry

August 25th, 2011
2:41 pm

Beachy not gonna last long in this game if he continues to pitch deep in the count.

cabravesfan

August 25th, 2011
2:41 pm

Bottom line- last night it would not have mattered if Kimmie pitched or Linebrink pitched. You know why? Because we didn’t score as many runs as the Cubs. So the entire argument is pointless.

timthebrave

August 25th, 2011
2:41 pm

Our fielding has been suspect the last 3 games

Snotboogie

August 25th, 2011
2:42 pm

I see where this is going…

:lol:

You’re really funny.

:lol:

Ease

August 25th, 2011
2:42 pm

Why is O’Flaherty not warming up? Is Fredi not even paying attention?

McFann :Ô: :Ô:

August 25th, 2011
2:43 pm

After the pitch following the steal, BMac was quite angry about something…they had just announced the scoring on that play, so I don’t know if he was t’d they gave the E to Alex or what, but he was…not happy…

Snotboogie

August 25th, 2011
2:43 pm

So the entire argument is pointless.

Since when does that matter.

ncscoots

August 25th, 2011
2:43 pm

Beachy not gonna last long in this game if he continues to pitch deep in the count.

Geez, Jerry, he’s faced all of two hitters. Think he still has time to turn it around, LOL?

JC from DR!

August 25th, 2011
2:44 pm

You’re really funny.

Those errors in the last couple of games are not funny to me. Last night’s game could have been won if not for those.

DC Brave

August 25th, 2011
2:45 pm

Awesome bloggage about Hoss, boss. Thanks.

I can’t wait to see Chipper play in October.

Jimmy

August 25th, 2011
2:45 pm

Don Sutton just said the leading canidates for the Cubs GM are Billy Beane and Shaun. Good luck buddy. :-)

Random

August 25th, 2011
2:46 pm

TennesseePaul (August 25th, 2011 10:22 am): ” ‘Did you
think about using Kimbrel, Venters or O’Flaherty in the 8th inning?’

“Fredi: ‘I thought about almost allowing the Cubs to get some more runs. As
you know, it is entirely on me and what I allow as to what the Cubs can
accomplish. And because of that, I’ll be honest with you, I allowed them to
get 3 runs and a win. I allowed that. I didn’t want my boys to be spoiled
with a perfect season this year, so I’ve allowed a few loses here an there.
I’ve allowed every run to cross the plate this season. I tell ya, sh!t
doesn’t happen on that field unless I allow it. And some times, I like to
almost allow things, just because with great responsibility comes great
power, and I enjoy that power. By the way, I allowed you to ask that
question too. And I’ll almost allow you to ask a follow up. Almost. Next!
You there, reporter from Chicago.’ ”

Priceless.

David O'Brien

August 25th, 2011
2:46 pm

Run against Beachy in 1st is unearned

Random

August 25th, 2011
2:47 pm

Shaun (August 25th, 2011 10:26 am): “Tommy T, fine. I would accept that explanation if Kimbrel wasn’t warming up in preparation of getting a save.”

You’re also priceless, in your own way.

First you assume that FGonzalez did not put Kimbrel into the game in the 8th inning because it wasn’t a save situation, and then you assume that the only reason Kimbrel was warming up in the 9th was “in preparation of getting a save”.

Whence these piercing insights? Or have you just painted yourself into another corner?

Doofus.

Murph

August 25th, 2011
2:48 pm

Why is O’Flaherty not warming up? Is Fredi not even paying attention?

He’s not the Braves’ best reliever… this being a 2 run game you gotta use your best reliever, which would be Venters. Then Kimbrel can pitch the 3rd inning and we’ll see what happens after that.

Hugo Z Hackenbush

August 25th, 2011
2:48 pm

Did they change the scoring?

David O'Brien

August 25th, 2011
2:48 pm

TnBrian: Dempster is first-class dude. And hilarious. Known him since he was a wide-eyed rookie callup with Marlins.

JoshTown

August 25th, 2011
2:49 pm

Great blog, DOB!

Braves Bravo 2

August 25th, 2011
2:49 pm

Chipper Jones is the man with HOF numbers, HOF attitude and is an all-around All-Star, enough said!!!!!!!!!!!! for those Chipper haters.

Sopheee

August 25th, 2011
2:50 pm

Ah, found it.

Congrats, Hillbilly!

Jerry

August 25th, 2011
2:50 pm

scoots, 25 pitches in the first inning. All I’m saying is that if he continues at this rate, he will not last past the 5th.

Ease

August 25th, 2011
2:51 pm

Thanks Murp, guess I was not following along closely.

Gimpah

August 25th, 2011
2:52 pm

BASERUNNING
SB: Castro, S (17, 2nd base off Beachy/McCann).

Chipper Jones is the man with HOF numbers, HOF attitude and is an all-around All-Star, enough said!!!!!!!!!!!! for those Chipper haters.

Lets not forget Chipper also got inducted into the Hooters HOF for being a trashy cheater.

Tom O'Hawke

August 25th, 2011
2:52 pm

Brava is still on the old blog. So is Mitchell and Gimpah.

I’d like to tell Brava there’s a new blog. But how do I do it with out telling those other two croud pleasers?

Hi, cabravesfan.

Tom O'Hawke

August 25th, 2011
2:52 pm

Brava is still on the old blog. So is Mitchell and Gimpah.

I’d like to tell Brava there’s a new blog. But how do I do it with out telling those other two croud pleasers?

Hi, cabravesfan.

Shaun

August 25th, 2011
2:52 pm

Murph, well, you see as long as the starter is still effective, no need to bring in a reliever. Because starting pitchers are usually better at pitching multiple innings and if you go to the bullpen this early, you run out of pitchers. Now, if it were the 6th, 7th, 8th or 9th, you’d have a point.

Linebrink for Cy

August 25th, 2011
2:52 pm

19 pitches in the first for Garza .. 9 this inning

timthebrave

August 25th, 2011
2:52 pm

We got the lead…..It’s Kimbrel Time!!!!

ncscoots

August 25th, 2011
2:53 pm

Jerry, come on. Little early to worry about it, don’t you think? Like, maybe give him the second inning, before we start cranking up the bully? :-)

Tom O'Hawke

August 25th, 2011
2:53 pm

I thought I had corrected “crowd” before submitting. So instead, it comes out wrong TWICE!

timthebrave

August 25th, 2011
2:55 pm

Gimpah, Picking up hooters chicks and hitting 90 MPH fastballs are a lot more difficult than they appear

Gimpah

August 25th, 2011
2:55 pm

Tom O’Hawke – Don’t fret, dude. Someone has to put forth the fact that McCann is leading MLB in stolen bases allowed and doesn’t seem to have any intention of relinquishing that title.

Sopheee

August 25th, 2011
2:55 pm

I’m sure this has been posted a gazillion times but does anyone have a radio link they can share, please? Gracias in advance.

Sopheee

August 25th, 2011
2:55 pm

Whoa, scoots – you’re in-gaming? I’m impressed.

Jimmy

August 25th, 2011
2:55 pm

Yeah Murph, listen to Shaun. He’ll teach you about the game of baseball.

Snotboogie

August 25th, 2011
2:56 pm

Shaun

August 25th, 2011
2:57 pm

timthebrave, see my 2:52 pm post.

Apparently my whole point about reliever usage went right over many of your heads.

You see, relievers are relievers because they either don’t have the repertoire or endurance to pitch much more than one inning without being less effective or breaking down. So you go to the bullpen early, you are going to run out of pitchers. See how that works?

bravesgrl4life

August 25th, 2011
2:57 pm

I HATE MARLON BYRD :evil:

Pierson Brave

August 25th, 2011
2:57 pm

I see that the Hooters dork is out to show his stupidity. Dork, let it go, that Hooters thread is sooooo 1990’s!

Snotboogie

August 25th, 2011
2:58 pm

Someone has to put forth the fact that McCann is leading MLB in stolen bases allowed and doesn’t seem to have any intention of relinquishing that title.

Do you want Mac to go to the front of the clubhouse and apologize for his performance?

phil

August 25th, 2011
2:58 pm

Sopheee

August 25th, 2011
2:58 pm

Thanks, Snot!

Tom O'Hawke

August 25th, 2011
2:58 pm

JC from DR!

August 25th, 2011
2:59 pm

Enter your comments here

Ease

August 25th, 2011
2:59 pm

Smoltz was a terrible reliever.

bravesgrl4life

August 25th, 2011
2:59 pm

Beach needs to settle down this inning. Are there two outs? Gameday on my work computer is s–l–o–w.

Efrim

August 25th, 2011
2:59 pm

cabravesfan

August 25th, 2011
2:59 pm

Jimmy

August 25th, 2011
2:59 pm

Tom O’Hawke – “I thought I had corrected “crowd” before submitting. So instead, it comes out wrong TWICE!”

And you brought the crowd with you.

Ease

August 25th, 2011
2:59 pm

Especially when he pitched in relief.

bravesgrl4life

August 25th, 2011
2:59 pm

Never mind, Jim just said one out.

Jerry

August 25th, 2011
2:59 pm

Just don’t like the way this is going. Garza has righted himself and is pitching well. Beachy looks like pure horseshyt. I’m worried.

Ease

August 25th, 2011
3:00 pm

Of himself…

ncscoots

August 25th, 2011
3:00 pm

Whoa, scoots – you’re in-gaming? I’m impressed.

Evil angel is ascendant today, Soph. I’m sure some poster during the game will deserve the lash, and I’m uncoiling as we speak. :-)

(I don’t know the little evil emoticon, so just visualize, there.)

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