When Chipper Jones wakes up this morning, he'll come to a realization that he may have less than 24 hours to go in his Hall of Fame career.
That has to be a sobering and rather depressing thought, especially for an athlete who has worn his heart on his sleeve, played the game the right way and is universally respected by the masses, whether it be his fellow players or opposing fans.
He very well might wake up and start singing the blues.
But he shouldn't.
Heading into tonight's National League Wild Card game, when his Atlanta Braves host the St. Louis Cardinals at Turner Field, it's the Braves that have a distinct advantage and should be considered the favorites to advance to the National League Division Series against the Washington Nationals.
While the Cardinals are sending their ace, Kyle Lohse (16-3, 2.86 ERA), to the mound, the Braves are one of the few teams to hit him this season—and hit him hard. Lohse didn't take the loss in their meeting on May 30, but he was tattooed for five earned runs and nine hits in only five innings of work.
Braves starter Kris Medlen (10-1, 1.57 ERA) hasn't faced the Cardinals since he joined the starting rotation in August. Sure, he got hit hard in his one relief appearance against St. Louis on May 28, surrendering four hits and two earned runs in just under three innings of work, but Medlen was a different pitcher back then.
Another set of numbers for your consideration: Atlanta is 48-33 at home while the Cardinals are 38-43 on the road. The two teams have played each other six times this season, with the Braves winning five of those games; three in St. Louis and two of three in Atlanta.
With emotions running high, both on the field and in the stands—where 45,000 foam tomahawks will be chopping air (h/t Atlanta Journal-Constitution), the Cardinals are walking into a hornet's nest.
Like I said, Chipper Jones shouldn't be singing the blues. Instead, he should look to the catalog of the Rolling Stones for his listening pleasure as he drives to Turner Field later today.
Can you hear him? I can, and while he's not quite on key, he wails away with Mick Jagger and the boys: "Ti-iii-iiime, is on my side, yes it is..."
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