While Chipper Jones(notes) seems to be considering retiring at the end of the season, the Atlanta Braves’ immediate concern is bouncing back from a rare home loss and holding on to their slim lead in the NL East.
Jones and the Braves will try to avoid back-to-back losses at Turner Field for the first time since April when they continue a three-game set against the Tampa Bay Rays on Wednesday night.
In a series between division leaders - the Rays are tied with the Yankees in the AL East - Tampa Bay (41-23) defeated Atlanta 10-4 on Tuesday, snapping the Braves’ nine-game home winning streak.
Jones hit his fourth home run in the eighth inning Tuesday and also had a double in the third, but he’s still only hitting .233 and has been limited recently by a finger injury. Before batting practice Tuesday, the 38-year-old third baseman met with team president John Schuerholz, general manager Frank Wren and manager Bobby Cox.
Jones didn’t say directly whether he’ll retire at the end of this season, but indicated that all that’s left is to work out details of the remainder of his contract.
“As best as I can gather right now, he’s thinking about retiring after this year,” Cox said. “But I can’t give a definitive answer.”
While Jones had one of his better games of the season, it wasn’t enough to help the Braves, who stranded 14 and saw their lead in the East cut to one-half game over the surging Mets. Atlanta is 5-6 since a nine-game winning streak May 26-June 3.
Tampa Bay also had some issues with clutch hitting in the win, leaving 10 men on and going 4 for 16 with runners in scoring position.
“That whole game was a trip,” manager Joe Maddon said. “We had baserunners all day.”
Hanson threw a career-high 121 pitches over 5 1-3 innings of a 11-7 win over Arizona on Thursday. He did not receive a decision, giving up two runs and striking out a season high-tying 10, but the Braves improved to 10-3 in his starts.
The second-year right-hander is making his first start against the Rays. He is 3-0 with a 1.06 ERA in interleague play - with all three starts coming against the AL East.
Davis gave up three runs and struck out seven in seven innings of a 3-2 loss to Toronto on Thursday, bouncing back after lasting 3 1-3 innings in his previous start.
“I thought Wade was really good,” Maddon told the Rays’ official website. “I thought that was Wade’s best outing of the year.”
The right-hander is making his first start against the Braves and first interleague start.