Big return for Bourn; Chipper might rest on Monday

Michael Bourn returned to the Braves lineup Sunday doing what he’s done all season – making an impact.

Win or lose, Bourn’s presence is usually felt, and that was the case again Sunday when he turned after missing six games with a sprained left thumb. Bourn went 2-for-3 with a double, an RBI, a walk and a stolen base, and the Braves scored six runs for only the second time since he got hurt Sept. 22 in Philadelphia.

“That was big for us, getting Michael back into the swing of things before the posteason gets here,” Chipper Jones said. “We’ve struggled at the top of the lineup for the last week without him. You see what he means to this offense when he gets back in there.”

An MRI revealed no structural damage to his thumb but Bourn had been dealing with soreness all week. But he felt good Sunday morning after taking a few swings in the indoor cages.

Possible rest

Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez is considering giving Chipper Jones a day to rest Monday in Pittsburgh after Jones played a season-high six consecutive days his final homestand to keep his word to the home fans.

“For me you’re borderline putting him in a situation where he could get hurt,” Gonzalez said. “I’ve been known to get talked out of those things as you well know with him. But we’ll see.”

Season attendance

The Braves topped two million in attendance for the 22st consecutive season and finished the home schedule at 2,420,171. The Braves drew more than 150,000 fans for Jones’ final three regular season games at Turner Field to help top last year’s attendance total of 2,372,940.

19 comments Add your comment

MELDOR

September 30th, 2012
8:25 pm

That’s a class act by the fans the last three days. Lets fill the Ted the 5th of Oct. Let’s get things rumbling!

Quack Quack

September 30th, 2012
8:46 pm

Tip of the cap to #10 Chipper. What a great run.

The 2012 season is not over. Lets keep this rolling right to the WS!!

GO BRAVES!!!

Ken Stallings

September 30th, 2012
10:53 pm

These last three games need to be about tweaking everything possible for the Wild Card game. Those you intend to stack on your bench as potential pinch hitters needs to get some AB’s. Optimize the innings for the bullpen personnel you intend to carry into postseason. Limit the innings of Huddy, Minor, and Maholm to keep them sharp but not overtax them.

Try to win the games, but realize there is not anything left in the regular season to play for because frankly I would not want to play a single-game with the Nats for the division.

Hamiltonaz

September 30th, 2012
11:54 pm

If there were a game with the Nats, woundn’t we still play the WCGame if we lost?

ChipperisGod

October 1st, 2012
12:40 am

Yes we would Hamiltonaz. But if we won, we’d win the division.

Give Chipper rest tomorrow. No reason to push it. Play him Tuesday, rest him Wednesday. This is the most consecutive games he’s played all year. Given his age and creaking joints, Chipper needs a rest. Keep him fresh for the WC or potential tie breaker game.

Bourn was big today, loved seeing him swing the bat and run the bases like a pro. He was starting to come around before, but I think that week off was great for him. Gave him a chance to catch his breath, and he looks resurrected out there. I know he wasn’t exactly facing top tier pitching, but he had a spring in his step that he hasn’t consistently had since the all star break.

Fredi should pick and choose who he rests and when. If the Nats win on Monday, Bourn should play everyday just to get his legs under him. Rest Prado Tuesday, Mac wednesday, Andy Wednesday, Freddie Tuesday, J-Hey Tuesday, Uggs Tuesday.

AT the same time, you don’t want to throw people too off. That’s why I think it’s important for everyone (except Chipper- playing day after night again will be tough) for two games so that they have played enough to stay consistent, but rested enough to stay fresh.

Tough balancing act, do what you think is best Fredi. Ask the players how they feel too, and then use your best judgment.

Go Braves!

Walt Coogan

October 1st, 2012
1:31 am

One aspect to consider is that Chipper’s career slugging average against left-handed pitching has dipped to .499 (actually .4986) and Pittsburgh’s starting pitcher on Monday, southpaw (and former Brave farmhand) Jeff Locke, could constitute Jones’ final opportunity to boost that slugging average back to .500. I know that Chipper does not play for numbers, but to retire with a slugging average of .500 or better from both sides of the plate (Chipper’s career slugging average versus right-handed pitching is .541) would be awfully special. Hopefully both Jones and Fred Gonzalez will at least be aware of this statistical opportunity in making their decision for tomorrow night’s game. Ms. Rogers and Mr. O’Brien, I hope that you can inform them of the matter.

And if Chipper, say, slugs a homer and a double against Locke and boosts his career slugging average against southpaws back to .500 and his overall career slugging average back to .530 (his figure has dipped to .529), I would then rest him for the final two regular season contests versus the Pirates. I might even pull Chipper from tomorrow night’s game if he hammers Locke early and reaches those marks.

Walt Coogan

October 1st, 2012
1:34 am

Ken, why wouldn’t you want to play a one-game playoff with the Nationals, especially with a hot pitcher such as Minor on the hill? Winning the NL East for the first time since 2005 would be grand, especially in Chipper’s final year, and if Atlanta wins that game, then the Braves won’t be subjected to a do-or-die Wild Card game just to reach the NLDS. Besides, Atlanta has been much hotter lately than Washington.

Walt Coogan

October 1st, 2012
1:47 am

“If there were a game with the Nats, woundn’t we still play the WCGame if we lost?”

Hamilton, you are correct, so there would only be an upside to playing that game with Washington, especially since the red-hot Mike Minor (or Tim Hudson, for that matter) would be in a position to start that contest and the Braves have been hotter than the Nationals.

kade madison

October 1st, 2012
1:59 am

This has a 90s feel to it. I keep thinking of an Orioles vs Braves world series. Imagine how perfect that would be? Billed as “Battle of the Jones’” since the Orioles have a Jones player who also wears 10.

Walt Coogan

October 1st, 2012
2:13 am

… should have written “Fredi,” not “Fred.”

MikeY

October 1st, 2012
6:30 am

One scenario that COULD happen is that the Dodgers and Cards tie for the second WC slot. From the Dodgers MLB site:

“A tiebreaker would take place at Dodger Stadium on Thursday if the Dodgers sweep the Giants and the Cardinals lose two of three against the Reds.”

The winer of that game would play at Turner Field on October 5. I think they would be a tired team.

ChipperisGod

October 1st, 2012
11:01 am

Don’t wanna play the Dodgers. Having to face Kershaw or Capuano in a one game do or die situation? No thanks. Not with our struggles against LHP this year.

Jeremy

October 1st, 2012
11:21 am

CiG- wouldn’t face Capuano or Kershaw. They are starting Tuesday and Wednesday respectively. Would probably be Beckett. If Stl has to go to LA and win on Thurs, they will probably have used Lohse (Thu), Wainright (Wed) and Carpenter (Tue). WC game would probably be Lynn.

If StL clinches before Wed (which they probably will), then they’ll choose between Lohse and Wainwright for WC game, IMO.

Mark (another one)

October 1st, 2012
1:27 pm

My wife bought us tickets for yesterday’s game and it was great to get a chance to be there in person and see Chipper play. The crowd was great. We had some Mets fans around us but everyone was cheering when number 10 did anything. I know the focus is on the post season, and it should be, but I am going to miss seeing Chipper play.

AZBravoFan

October 1st, 2012
2:06 pm

Walt Coogan:
Numbers are nice, and if we were out of the race I might agree with you. But the SOLE focus right now is doing whatever it takes to get everyone healthy and ready for Friday (or hopefully Thursday). If the division falls, then rest those who are beat up, get some swings for those who we’re gonna need on the bench for the playoffs. Tune up some relievers. Keep everyone HEALTHY!

J J

October 1st, 2012
6:20 pm

Is your Hooters hero going to play?

bostonbravo

October 1st, 2012
6:31 pm

hey JJ why not go over there & see?….buy John Daly a shooter while you’re there…and try on “Hooters” uni…sure you’d look good in it.

J J

October 1st, 2012
6:49 pm

I will just stay at playboy club. Thank you though. Want no part of your Hooters hero.

bfred

October 1st, 2012
6:54 pm

We have the opportunity to play it by ear. Braves win, Nats lose tonight – full throttle. Then the same after Tuesday. If not, we’re eliminated from the division chase and can work in some role players (not too much please – I don’t want any rust to form on the starters).

I’d much rather play the Nats for a one-game divisional tiebreak than the Cards for possible elimination. Aside from potentially ending the season right there, the Cards are hot. Nats are not.

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