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What we all really care about

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Chipper Jones's average sits at .365. He hasn't started since last Friday, but he has pinch hit in 3 of the five games since then and is 2-2 with a walk and a 3-run homer. As usual, his body may not work, but his bat sure does. To be precise -- hat tip to Ububba of Braves Journal -- his average sits at .365297, a nanotick higher than the all-time single season record for batting average by a switch hitter, Mickey Mantle's 1957 BA of .364979. Albert Pujols is 3-3 today, raising his average to .353. He's been in a bit of a slump recently, though, going 9-42 in his last 13 games (.214 average) before today. Chipper's been hot: in his last 13 games, he's 18-40, a .450 average. Both teams have 3 games left after this. Chipper will have an MRI Tuesday and says he's not really feeling better, so it's not clear whether he'll start in any of the next three games. Here's a rundown of the possibilities. Albert Pujols averaged 3.24 at-bats a game over the Cardinals' first 158 games. Let's assume that he gets 10 at-bats over the last 3 games. If he goes 10-10, his average would be 0.365714, slightly higher than Chipper's current .365297, so Chipper can't quite rest easy and sit out the rest of the season -- but it's close. Chipper's MRI is set for Tuesday, two days after the last game of the Braves' season. The scheduling -- and his comments about not feeling better -- cast doubts on his starting in any of the games, but it's likely he'd be used as a pinch hitter even if he didn't start. If he has no at-bats, unless Albert goes 10-10, he wins the batting race. If Chipper goes 0-10 -- which I doubt, because I doubt he'll get 10 at-bats -- he'll be at .357, and Albert would have to go 6-10 or better. If Chipper gets an ohfer in 6 at-bats or fewer, Albert would have to go 8-10 or better. And if Chipper goes 1-1, there's no way that Albert can pass him without going 11-11. So the race is pretty close to over.

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