Jones, on one of the hottest tears of his career, looks to continue his success at New York as the Braves open a three-game series with the Mets on Friday night.
Jones is regularly booed at Shea Stadium, but he is hitting .310 with 19 home runs, 21 doubles and 54 RBIs in 86 games there. In his last nine road games against the Mets (11-10), the veteran third baseman is batting .385 (15-for-39) with two home runs, five doubles and 10 RBIs.
This is the final season Jones will get to hit at Shea, with the Mets ready to call Citi Field their new home next year.
Shea is considered a pitcher’s park, but Jones has been hard to get out anywhere. He celebrated his 36th birthday by going 3-for-3, including a homer, to lead Atlanta (11-11) past NL East-leading Florida 7-4 on Thursday night.
“Every day has been his birthday,” Braves manager Bobby Cox joked.
Jones leads the majors with a .442 batting average, and has seven homers and 20 RBIs.
Mets starter Mike Pelfrey (2-0, 3.18 ERA) is the next pitcher Jones will face. Jones is 1-for-4 with a home run in his career against the 24-year-old right-hander.
Pelfrey, trying to solidify a spot in New York’s rotation, has had a strong start. But he was shaky in his last outing, allowing four runs and 10 hits in five innings as the Mets lost 5-4 to the Phillies on Sunday night.
Pelfrey faced the Braves for the first time last season, going 1-1 with a 4.15 ERA in two starts and one relief appearance against them.
Brian Schneider, who would normally be Pelfrey’s batterymate, was sent to New York on Thursday and was hospitalized for treatment of an infected left thumb. He was expected to be in the hospital for 24 to 48 hours and on intravenous medication, and the Mets hope to avoid having to put their top catcher on the disabled list.
“They’re going to see if that clears it up,” New York general manager Omar Minaya said.
Raul Casanova replaced Schneider in the starting lineup Thursday night against Washington, and the Mets lost 10-5 after blowing a 3-0 lead.
New York has lost four of five after winning its previous five.
Atlanta, meanwhile, has won six of eight following a slow start.
The Braves will now hand the ball to Jair Jurrjens (2-2, 3.20 ERA), who has been impressive in four starts. The 22-year-old right-hander gave up one run and three hits while striking out a career-high eight in seven innings to earn a win as the Atlanta beat the Los Angeles Dodgers 6-1 on Sunday.
Jurrjens, a rookie acquired by the Braves in an offseason trade that sent shortstop Edgar Renteria to Detroit, was consistently clocked at about 95 miles per hour versus the Dodgers. Bobby Cox said that’s the hardest he’s thrown since joining the team.
This will be Jurrjens’ first appearance against the Mets.
The Braves swept a two-game set with the Mets at Atlanta from April 5-6.