Atlanta, Ga – It may be Chipper Jones’ final season, but last night’s performance has some fans wondering if he should play a couple more seasons. After all, when a play knocks two homers and brings his batting average up to a team leaning .315, those questions are bound to surface. Especially when it gets Atlanta a 6-0 victory.
That was especially important as it was bobblehead night.
“If we have to make some silly bobblehead things to get people in the stands, so be it. Keep doing it,” Jones told ESPN. “We get motivated to play every night, but there are certain nights when it’s special, whether certain family members are in the seats, or it’s your birthday, or it’s bobblehead night.”
Jones started off his big night with a two run shot in the first, which set the pace for the night. He followed that one up with a solo shot in the fifth, clean over the center field wall.
Jason Heyward also got into the act with a home run of his own, and starting pitcher Kris Medlen who pitched his first complete game. Medlen threw a five hit, complete game shutout, something that the great Chipper Jones approved of. “He’s more than stated his case to be in the rotation from here on out,” Jones said. “The guy just wins ballgames. It’s awfully comforting as a player to know your guy is going to hold them to a minimum amount of runs.”
Medlen (4-1) started off fast and never really slowed down. While he’s only chalked up four wins for himself, the Braves have won 15 consecutive games when he starts out on the mound. That’s impressive by just about anyone’s estimation. After all, it ties the franchise record set by John Smoltz in 1996. For the record, that’s also the year he won the Cy Young Award. Now, no one is talking Cy Young for Medlen…at least not this season. However, he’s definitely earned the respect of his team. “He pounds the strike zone,” manager Fredi Gonzalez said. “Guys love to play behind him.”
“He was able to throw a complete game because he can field his position,” Gonzalez told ESPN. “Very few guys in our rotation, maybe in the majors, makes that play early in the game where he throws out Marquis at the plate. Usually you go to first base on that play, including me. I was looking over at first.”
Atlanta is now 69-49, and picked up half a game on the Nationals.