More bad history for Kawakami (0-9), but Chipper homers

What's that about a picture telling a story? Here's Kenshin Kawakami after allowing a two-run homer to Evan Longoria in Tampa Bay's four-run first inning. (Curtis Compton/AJC)

What's that about a picture telling a story? Here's Kenshin Kawakami after allowing a two-run homer to Evan Longoria in Tampa Bay's four-run first inning. (Curtis Compton/AJC)

And in other news, Kenshin Kawakami probably also feels like retiring.

Kawakami hasn’t quite built up the pension that Chipper Jones has, and he certainly doesn’t have “longevity” stamped on his forehead right now. The Braves’ Japanese import just became the first starting pitcher in franchise history to start 0-9, by virtue of a 10-4 loss to the Tampa Bay Rays.

The last franchise pitcher to start the season 0-9, according to the Elias Sports Bureau, was Tom Tuckey of the 1909 Boston Doves. But Tuckey was not an exclusive starter. He lost seven games as a starter and two as a reliever.

Since baseball is a number’s game, here’s one to chew on: at 0-9 through 13 starts, Kawakami is on a pace to go 0-22. But that assumes he’ll be in the rotation the rest of the season, which probably isn’t a safe assumption.

When Braves general manager Frank Wren signed Kawakami last year to a three-year, $23 million contract, it was somewhat of an historical moment for the organization. But the pitcher is making the wrong kind of history. Even before Tuesday’s game, Kawakami earned the distinction of becoming the first pitcher in major league history to start the season 0-8 while playing for a first-place team.

The Braves just came off a 6-5 road trip (four one-run losses) and were returning to Turner Field, where they were 19-6.  But after a two-hour and 20-minute rain delay, Kawakami seemed intent on wrecking the party. Tampa Bay pounded him for four runs in the first inning, including a prodigious two-run homer by Evan Longoria to left field. Through two innings, the Rays had five runs and five hits, including a home run and three doubles.

By the time Kawakami left in the fifth inning, he was assured of going through his 13th start without a victory. His totals: five innings, five runs (fortunately only two earned), seven hits and three walks (one intentional). He threw 100 pitches in five innings. He also committed two errors in the fifth inning on an errant pickoff attempt and a fielding error, though somehow he escaped without allowing a run.

“I’m just getting into a bad rhythm every start,” Kawakami said. “It’s my fault that some of the games are going this way. I have to improve on that.”

Jones managed some improvement. After a day of retirement talk — and having missed nine of the previous 11 games with a sore ring finger on his right hand — Jones doubled and homered in the game. If every game had gone like this, a retirement announcement probably wouldn’t seem imminent.

But everything points to an announcement soon. I spoke to Jones before the game and have updated and re-written the column, which is online now. Chipper wasn’t at his locker after the game, dressing in a back room, away from the media. But his parents, who are in town for game, spoke and had some interesting comments, which you can read in the Jones’ column.

Follow me on Twitter @JeffSchultzAJC and Facebook.com/JeffSchultzAJC

Instant re-blog

Chipper Jones has more pride than to sit back, collect checks

Tuesday Countdown: Vuvuzelas, USC’s arrogance, Hugo’s  a ‘dogos; fan

Drew doesn’t waste time sending message to Hawks’ players

If Braves’ Pendleton got blame before, he better get credit now

Larry Drew’s first issue: What to do with Joe Johnson?

346 comments Add your comment

Jeff Schultz

June 15th, 2010
8:05 pm

Folks — sorry, don’t know what happened but for some reason commenting was closed. I didn’t do it! Honest! Anyway, no worries. You haven’t missed anything. Except rain and thunder and a couple of cracks of lightning. There is no projected start time just yet.

Not First

June 15th, 2010
8:09 pm

Game on guys. Let’s go!

Blue Skies

June 15th, 2010
8:13 pm

I dont care if kaWakami goes 0-20 if it means the Braves win the division. Just can’t see Chipper retiring before Bobby.

Blue Skies

June 15th, 2010
8:15 pm

Obama caused the rain delay

Jeff Schultz

June 15th, 2010
8:15 pm

The squee-gee boys are on the field!

gtjacket44

June 15th, 2010
8:26 pm

Chipper still has a few big hits left in him

skip

June 15th, 2010
8:30 pm

any word on start time jeff?

Jeff Schultz

June 15th, 2010
8:31 pm

No time yet … Groundscrew left the field when rain came back, now they’re back on field with squeegees again.

Jeff Schultz

June 15th, 2010
8:32 pm

TO ALL: FYI, I finally got back to some if your questions on the Chipper column if you were waiting for answers.
http://blogs.ajc.com/jeff-schultz-blog/2010/06/15/chipper-jones-has-more-pride-than-to-sit-back-collect-checks/

skip

June 15th, 2010
8:34 pm

how hard is it raining? and do you think we’ll get the game in tonight?

Bravo

June 15th, 2010
8:34 pm

So is Chipper seeking a buyout to retire? Is that what remains to be “settled?”

clay

June 15th, 2010
8:40 pm

Tarps about to come off jeff?

Herschel Talker

June 15th, 2010
8:42 pm

Schutzie:

11 comments so far. Not so impressive. I’m with you though, buddy.

Gabe

Jeff Schultz

June 15th, 2010
8:45 pm

We’re still in a rain delay. We’re debating whether Kawakami gets a no decision or a partial loss. New record: 0-8.5.

Jeff Schultz

June 15th, 2010
8:46 pm

Herschel — actually, commenting inadvertently was closed for over an hour. Don’t know why.

ASN

June 15th, 2010
8:49 pm

Jeff, how’s the crowd tonight? Bummer about the rain. I’m still hoping for an electric crowd as I watch from Virginia Beach, Va.

Josh

June 15th, 2010
8:51 pm

ASN – don’t know how electric the crowd will be after a 2-3 hour delay, heh.

bobby cox

June 15th, 2010
8:52 pm

any news on the strart time?

Long Way Home Brave

June 15th, 2010
8:53 pm

Lets Go Braves

ryan

June 15th, 2010
8:54 pm

Ha!

Kawakami at 0-8.5

That was pretty funny.

Andyisajedi

June 15th, 2010
8:55 pm

Braves should make a multi year contract offer to Troy Glaus and move him back to 3rd and bring up Freddie Freeman to play 1st for next year.

Steve

June 15th, 2010
8:56 pm

0 – 8.5. Now that’s funny. Jeff is TONIGHT the night he gets his first win? You were dead on last week with your order of – (1) No decision, (2) loss, (3) Win. Seems like sometimes when it is a lopsided match-up like this that the opposite happens.

Andyisajedi

June 15th, 2010
8:56 pm

Enter your comments here

Jeff Schultz

June 15th, 2010
8:58 pm

ASN — Crowd not great but impossible to give you estimate until people are out from under overhangs and walkways.

Jeff Schultz

June 15th, 2010
8:59 pm

Bobby Cox– no “first pitch” announcement yet. but crew is wiping over tarp AGAIN!

Jeff Schultz

June 15th, 2010
8:59 pm

Ryan — Thanks. Check back with me in an hour… I’ll be really punchy by then.

ASN

June 15th, 2010
9:02 pm

Is Chipper starting tonight?

Is it gonna rain tonight?

June 15th, 2010
9:03 pm

Jeff at least you can get caught up on the morrow

Steve

June 15th, 2010
9:04 pm

ASN it says right there in the short article that Chipper is.

Brock

June 15th, 2010
9:05 pm

Game needs to start. Steve Harvey show ain’t cuttin’ it. Thank goodness for the NBA game tonight.

Jeff Schultz

June 15th, 2010
9:05 pm

I think it’s finally soup — they’re rolling up the tarp!

Blue Skies

June 15th, 2010
9:06 pm

Schultz – has anybody told you that you look like Brian Posehn?

skip

June 15th, 2010
9:06 pm

its game time son! lets do this! first pitch will be at what time?

Daniel

June 15th, 2010
9:07 pm

Brock, when would the Steve Harvey show ever “cut it”?!?!? Terrible show.

bradley broome

June 15th, 2010
9:07 pm

when is the game gona start? o ya is yunel escobar in trade talks? whats our chances to land roy oswalt?

Is it gonna rain tonight?

June 15th, 2010
9:08 pm

YEEEEEESSSSSS!!!!!!!

Jeff Schultz

June 15th, 2010
9:08 pm

First pitch: 9:30.

Is it gonna rain tonight?

June 15th, 2010
9:08 pm

skip

June 15th, 2010
9:10 pm

nailed it.. we need a W Tonight with the mets winning……. also jeff, Ill be in atlanta on the 15th for the brewers series (i live in idaho :) ) it’ll be my first time at turner field and im super stoked. are there any good restaurants/bars by the ballpark that are musts?

Brock

June 15th, 2010
9:11 pm

true Daniel. true.

Blue Skies

June 15th, 2010
9:12 pm

Steve Harveys teeth just blinded me

bradley broome

June 15th, 2010
9:12 pm

whats up jeff? but anyway chip chip is the man!

Jeff Schultz

June 15th, 2010
9:14 pm

Blue Skies — I think a reader did once. Maybe it was you.

Steve

June 15th, 2010
9:15 pm

Skip, you did not ask me but I thought I would throw in my two cents. The really bad thing about Turner Field is that there is nothing around except a little bar that is not very good. It is not in the best neighborhood either. Best bet is to eat in Midtown or Downtown. For a good burger, go to The Vortex. Amazing. Many options though in the city for bars or food.

Long Way Home Brave

June 15th, 2010
9:15 pm

DO NOT TRADE ESCOBAR

Long Way Home Brave

June 15th, 2010
9:15 pm

The Varsity is nice

The Difference

June 15th, 2010
9:15 pm

where’s the “guess what inning Chipper comes out of the game because he’s hurt” game?

my prediction is the 4th inning tonight!

Brock

June 15th, 2010
9:16 pm

Steve is almost still sporting the kid and play look. Fade!!!! and one!

Long Way Home Brave

June 15th, 2010
9:16 pm

Jeff … any news on Schaf gettn a call up anytime soon ?

Nate

June 15th, 2010
9:19 pm

Is there any truth to the rumor that the Braves are looking to move a pitcher for a right fielder?