UPDATE: David O’Brien of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports that Jones is out of Saturday’s lineup.
8:34 AM: Chipper Jones has exceeded all expectations coming back from left knee surgery, batting .274/.341/.425 with two homers, five doubles and 14 RBI over his first 82 plate appearances. He has appeared in every game this season and even hit a key two-run double in the fourth inning of last night’s win over the Giants.
I’m convinced that Jones is a switch-hitting zombie at this point, but it has all seemed a bit too good to be true considering his recent history with injuries. And according to Mark Bowman of MLB.com, Jones is currently experiencing some pain in his right knee.
“I’ve got some pain in the lower inside of my knee that is preventing me from pushing off and cutting and stuff like that,” Jones said after Friday night’s 4-1 win over the Giants. “It’s just a really sharp pain. I don’t know why it’s doing it. But it’s been doing it for the past 10 days or so. I don’t know if it was the cold, but it was really pronounced tonight.”
Jones played the entirety of last night’s game, but told Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez that he might not be available to play this afternoon against Giants’ ace Tim Lincecum.
Christian Yelich simply can’t be stopped. The Brewers outfielder (and defending NL MVP) entered Saturday’s game with a league-leading 11 home runs after swatting two against the Dodgers on Friday night, then clubbed another two homers in the first six innings of Saturday’s game.
The first came on a 2-1 pitch from the Dodgers’ Hyun-Jin Ryu, who lobbed a changeup toward the bottom of the strike zone before it was lifted up and out to center field for a solo home run in the third inning.
While Chase Anderson and Alex Claudio held down the fort against the Dodgers’ lineup, Yelich prepared for his second blast in the sixth inning — this one a 421-foot double-decker on a first-pitch curveball from Ryu.
Yelich’s 13 home runs not only gave him a stronger grip on the league’s leaderboard, but helped him tie yet another franchise record, too. Per MLB.com’s Adam McCalvy, he’s tied with Prince Fielder for the most home runs hit by a Brewers player in a single month, and sits just one home run shy of tying Álex Rodríguez’s 2007 record for most home runs hit within any club’s first 22 games of the season.
It may be far too early to predict which players will finish first in the MVP races this fall, but there’s no denying Yelich has already set himself apart from the competition. Through Saturday’s performance, he’s batting .361/.459/.880 with a 1.329 OPS and MLB-best 31 RBI across 98 PA so far.