Last year Chipper Jones, mired in a deep second-half slump, said that he might just retire after 2010 and walk away from millions. He backtracked on that earlier this season. Now he’s back on his “I may just give it all up” horse:
“I make no bones about it. I am seriously considering it no
matter how this year ends up for the Atlanta Braves. It’s something
that’s still in the works, but hasn’t been ruled out for the end of the
year. I’m not going to stick around and hamstring this organization if
I’m not playing well and not enjoying myself… I’ve committed to play
this year. I’m not going to walk out on the club. But at the end of this
year, if I don’t feel like I can contribute at a high level like I
always have, then it is a possibility that I will walk away.”
Jones is hitting .219/.377/.336 with only two homers and his usual assortment of bumps and bruises. Despite this, the Braves have the second best record in the NL in the month of May and are second in runs scored. It would be great if he could turn it around and add to the party, but so far the Braves have gotten by just fine without him producing.
It’s one thing to struggle. It’s another thing when you struggle and have it not really matter. Jones has always been fairly frank in assessing his performance and place in the universe. Based on these comments, I think he’s pretty well aware of it now as well. If he realizes that he’s no longer needed, I have no doubt that he’d walk away from the $20 million+ he’s owed and retire.
Dodgers second baseman Charlie Culberson delivered a walk-off solo home run in the bottom of the 10th inning, clinching the NL West for the Dodgers on Sunday afternoon. What a way to celebrate Vin Scully’s final home game behind the microphone.
The Dodgers were trailing 2-1 in the seventh inning, but shortstop Corey Seager tripled in a run to tie the game. Rockies outfielder David Dahl untied the game in the top of the ninth with a two-out solo home run off of Kenley Jansen. But Seager once again rose to the occasion, blasting a game-tying solo shot in the bottom half of the ninth against Adam Ottavino. That would set the stage for Culberson in the next frame.
Culberson, a former Rockie, came into the afternoon with a .591 OPS and zero home runs in 53 plate appearances. He finished the afternoon 3-for-5 with the homer.
It’s the fourth consecutive season in which the Dodgers have won the NL West. The Cubs have clinched the best record, which means they’ll play the winner of the Wild Card game. The Dodgers will play the Nationals in the NLDS. The Nationals have a 1.5-game lead over the Dodgers for home-field advantage, so both teams are still playing for something of importance in the regular season’s final week.
The Red Sox defeated the Rays 3-2 on Sunday afternoon thanks to some nifty base running by second baseman Dustin Pedroia. The win marks their 11th in a row, inching them closer to a division title.
With the game tied 2-2 in the top of the tenth, Pedroia led off with a single off of reliever Eddie Gamboa. After Xander Bogaerts lined out, David Ortiz ripped a double into the right-center field gap. Pedroia, running hard the whole way, rounded third and motored towards home plate, but the relay throw home — from center fielder Jaff Decker to second baseman Logan Forsythe to catcher Luke Maile — beat Pedroia by a good 10 feet. He was a dead duck.
Pedroia danced around Maile’s glove, avoiding the tag. Maile, on his side, continued to attempt to apply the tag on Pedroia. When he finally did, the ball was knocked loose and Pedroia scored the go-ahead run. The play was reviewed but the call was upheld.
Joe Kelly kept the Rays off the board in the bottom of the 10th, securing the 3-2 victory for the Red Sox.
The Blue Jays also won on Sunday, meaning the Red Sox still have a 5.5-game lead in the AL East. Any combination of two Red Sox wins and Blue Jays losses will seal up the division for the Red Sox. The two clubs round out the regular season with a three-game set against each other in Boston.