Sitting up in the pressbox, watching Steve Avery pitching to Greg McMichael in an old-timers/celebrity softball game before the Braves face the Detroit Tigers. Kenshin Kawakami had been schedule to start the celebrity game but he was pulled from the rotation.
Kidding, kidding. I’m a kidder.
Actually, there was some hilarious banter in the clubhouse between Dale Murphy and Chipper
Murphy to Chipper: “Are you playing a doubleheader today?”
Chipper to Murphy: “Weren’t you retired by now?”
(Murphy retired when he was 37. Jones is 38.)
“He was all over me [Friday],” Jones said later. “I was like, ‘Murp, you were done when you were 38.’ He was like, ‘Yeah, so?’ I said, ‘So how are you giving me a hard time about being old and not being able to do stuff? I’m playing.’”
No kidding. Jones actually should play out his retirement drama more often. He’s on fire. He has a nine-game hitting streak, during which he is 13 for 33 (.394) with seven RBIs, five runs, a homer and three doubles.
The Braves go into today’s game against the Tigers with a half-game lead over New York and 2 1/2 over Philadelphia. Of course, the biggest story, and possibly the subject of a column later today, is Kawakami. He is 0-9 with a 4.78 ERA. He’s the only starting pitcher in Braves history to lose his first nine decisions. (The franchise’s last 0-9 pitcher, Tom Tuckey with the Boston Doves in 1909, lost seven starts and two relief appearances.)
With Jair Jurrjens on the way back (he’s scheduled to throw a bullpen session Sunday and start against Washington Wednesday). Kris Medlen has been strong (4-0 with a 3.40 ERA as a starter). So this very well could be Kawakami’s final turn in the rotation. Somebody has to go and he’s the logical guy out.
Kawakami is coming off his worst start of the season, blowing a 4-0 lead over Kansas City and allowing five runs on six hits in two innings. He also has committed three errors in his last two starts.
Manager Bobby Cox was predictably evasive on the topic before the game. When I asked him what his plans were for the rotation, he said only, “I have not sat down with [general manager] Frank Wren about it once. We probably will.”
That’s it for now. I’ll be blogging live during the game. Until then, enjoy the air conditioning.
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