If Chipper Jones’ swan song season has been characterized by any one thing, it’s been characterized by caution and pain. He has felt a lot of pain — mostly in those nearly non-existent knees — so he and the Braves have exercised caution. He has sat out often, rarely playing a string of more than four days in a row without a break, and often not even that many.
It’s been a good plan, too. Jones has missed time, yes, but not extended time, and he has been outrageously productive for a man of his age and physical state. Far from playing out the string, he has been a key force in the Braves offense all year.
Which makes his tweet today somewhat curious:
To answer all ur questions….Im playing every day this week…..get ur butts to the Ted!!!
— Chipper Jones (@RealCJ10) September 24, 2012
This week — through the weekend — is his last regular season homestand with the Braves, so it makes sense that he wants to go out in style, on the field, saying goodbye to Braves fans. But it’s also something that should give Braves fans pause.
Starting with tomorrow’s game, the Braves play six home games in a row without a day off. It would seem that he’s playing in all of them, as five of them are “this week” and it seems highly unlikely that he wouldn’t play next Sunday’s home finale However, Chipper has played on six days in a row exactly once this season, from September 7th through the 12th. And actually in one of those games he did not start, coming in late to pinch hit on September ninth (though he did stay in for one more plate appearance as the game went into extra innings). Joes has played on five straight days three other times this season.
This last week seems to be the lowest leverage week of the year for Atlanta. They have all but clinched their post season birth. The playoffs are in the offing. Maybe I’m fretting because of my Braves fandom, but it seems to me that, rather than play every single day this week, now would be an excellent time to get Jones some extra rest for that last push to the World Series.