Braves-Marlins: Chipper Just Being Chipper

Kevin MarkumCorrespondent IMay 7, 2009

PHILADELPHIA - APRIL 05:  Chipper Jones #10 of the Atlanta Braves is congratulated by manager Bobby Cox after the Braves beat the Philadelphia Phillies on April 5, 2009 at Citizens Bank Park in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Today's game is the opening of the 2009 major league baseball season.  (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)

Whenever Manny Ramirez does something spectacular or incredibly stupid, we just say "Hey, that's just Manny being Manny."

After going two for three with two RBI and a pair of walks, we can say that "Chipper is just being Chipper."

Tuesday night was an exciting finish as Chipper had a chance to tie up the ball game against the NL East rival Mets.

Usually, Chipper has a smile on his face about 75 percent of the time. When Chipper came up to bat with the tying run in scoring position against the Met's "K-Rod", Chipper gave a look that said, "I'm going to tie this ball game, or go down swinging."

Sadly, Chipper popped out to end the game, but he was set to get revenge against another NL East rival on Wednesday evening. 

Mission accomplished.

Currently on the season, Jones is batting a modest .295 which is only modest considering his Goliath .364 mark set in 2008.

Why is the mark still pretty good, but so different? Compare his .295 BA to his .427 OBP, which is really what matters to me. 

Opposing pitchers are scared of Chipper. They won't pitch to him. Without Brian McCann protecting him in the order, pitchers are more than willing to put Chipper on first in order to face Garret Anderson.

How can I tell? One, I watch most of the games. Two, statistically speaking, Chipper has walked in eight of the last 10 ball games. In the last 10 games, he has walked 13 times! That includes a four walk night against the Cardinals a little over a week ago.

Here's an interesting observation: Chipper's batting average has dropped from .333 on April 26 to the present day .295.

Well, on April 26, Chipper's OBP was .393. While his batting average has dropped 38 points, his OBP has risen 34 points. 

What does that mean? He's actually getting on base more even with a slumping batting average.

Now, if only he had the speed to steal a bag or two.

Last night the Braves were victorious over the Florida Marlins with an 8-6 victory.  Chipper, of course, teamed up with Garret Anderson to push the Braves offensively.

There were a couple of things that I saw last night that I particularly liked.

A few days ago I mentioned the Braves have a bench that could really do some damage in the starting lineup.

Martin Prado last night started at first base and struggled, going a miserable zero for four. However, Omar Infante started in place of Kelly Johnson and went two for three with a couple of RBI and a run scored. 

He also walked once.

Omar Infante is becoming a must start for the Braves. Currently, the Braves need him more in the lead off spot than they do defensively at second. 

He has started several games here recently while Kelly Johnson has been in a slump. It is paying off big dividends.

Currently, when Infante bats in the lead off spot, he's hitting .432 with a .488 OBP.  His OPS in the lead-off spot is 1.002.  I love the guy and really feel he could be an All Star if he could start everyday.

He has certainly developed greatly since his days with Detroit. Kelly Johnson could be big trade bait as a result of Omar's strong play.

The Braves are set to face off against the Marlins in Miami again this afternoon when Jair Jurrjens (2-2; 1.89) faces Anibal Sanchez (1-3; 5.46). 

The Braves are trying to return the favor as they attempt to sweep the Marlins after the Marlins completed the task in the first series between these two NL East rivals.


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