3B CHIPPER JONES
We’re talking old school here. Pitcher Kris Medlen (10-1, 1.57 ERA) seems an obvious choice as the Braves’ key guy right now, and will take the mound in the play-in game Friday against St. Louis. However, you just get the sense that the longtime veteran with 92 postseason games under his belt will have something to say during his last go-’round. At least that’s what Atlanta hopes.
Slowed by injuries of late, or being given the opportunity to pace himself heading into the playoffs since it was apparent the Braves had a berth locked up for quite some time, Jones’ numbers haven’t been eye-popping. But he had a solid season (.287, 14 homers, 62 RBIs in just 387 at-bats) and he has been consistently solid once the games really mean something.
Actually, his postseason numbers pretty much match what he did in 2012. In 337 at-bats, he’s hit .288 with 13 homers and 47 RBIs while scoring 58 runs. He is a master at getting on base, as his OBP jumps in the postseason to .411. Considering the Hall of Fame career he has had, though, the one thing Jones has not done is completely take over and carry his team in the playoffs … and here he’s been given one final chance to do so.
The lineup around Jones is nothing special. In fact, it’s hard to imagine that the Braves were capable of winning 94 games with that lineup never mind that they went out and did so. Clearly, the pitching has carried Atlanta this far. But if it’s going to make some noise in the postseason, it needs some offense … and Jones is the guy to spark it.