Braves attempt to keep rolling without Chipper
Now that the Braves have finally pinned a loss on Philadelphia’s new ace, they’ll return to Turner Field tonight to attempt to beat the guy considered the Phillies’ ace not so long ago.
Based on the way he’s pitched lately, Brett Myers could also be considered the Astros’ former ace. Myers has gone 0-3 with a 7.88 ERA in his past four starts. It should be noted that this span included back-to-back starts against both the Brewers and the Reds.
So now that we’ve pointed out that Myers has struggled against the Reds and Brewers both at home and on the road, I’ll attempt to further heighten the optimism of Braves fans by pointing out that he is 4-9 with a 4.46 ERA in 22 career starts against the Braves. He has split six decisions and posted a 4.94 ERA in nine career starts at Turner Field.
When Myers last beat the Braves on Aug. 7, 2006, the Braves had Willy Aybar batting leadoff and playing third base. There’s seemingly a good chance Martin Prado will be batting leadoff and playing third base for the Braves tonight.
It was certainly a surprise to see Chipper Jones limp to his locker about an hour after yesterday’s game and reveal that he has a small meniscus tear in his right knee. We knew his right knee was bothering him. But as he kept playing through the pain, he showed the kind of youthful energy that was displayed during Saturday’s seventh inning, when he aggressively went from first to third base without knowing Eric Hinske’s double had bounced out of play.
Over the next couple days we’ll likely learn whether Jones can avoid undergoing an arthroscopic surgical procedure that would sideline him for a couple weeks. It seems the Braves want to simply medicate the ailment in the manner they did Sunday afternoon, when they injected his right knee.
When asked if he had been injected with cortisone, Chipper said, “You’re going to have to ask (Dr. Marvin Royster) what he put in there. I was too busy cringing.”
For now Jones is hoping to miss just a couple of days. In his absence, Prado, Brooks Conrad or even Joe Mather could play third base. With this upcoming weekend’s series against the Angels being played in Anaheim, Chipper could lessen the stress on his knees while serving as the designated hitter.
Most of you probably already know Jason Heyward said yesterday that he will likely wait one more day before returning to the lineup. Thus instead of playing tonight, he may play tomorrow afternoon in the finale of a two-game set against the Astros.
Hinske has taken advantage of the chance to get some starts while Heyward has missed five straight starts with a sore right shoulder. If Prado plays third base in Jones’ absence, Hinske will likely continue to find himself in the starting lineup.
Like last year, Hinske has impressed since enduring a slow start. He delivered two key singles against Roy Halladay yesterday and has batted .385 (15-for-39) with four homers in his past 19 games.
Craig Kimbrel’s inability to preserve a two-run lead against the Nationals last Wednesday prevented Tommy Hanson from winning a fourth consecutive start for the first time since he did so twice in his rookie season. His first such span began with his second career start.
Anyhow, Hanson will take the mound tonight looking to win his fourth straight decision. He is 1-0 with an 0.78 ERA in three career starts against the Astros.