ATLANTA — Chipper Jones is back in the lineup, the team actually has a winning streak, and now it’s time to go home.
Yep, things are looking up for the Atlanta Braves.
A week into a season that began with four consecutive losses, the Braves are slated for their home debut tonight at Turner Field when they take on the Milwaukee Brewers.
The last time Atlanta played at the Ted, the result was a gut-wrenching, 13-inning loss to Philadelphia that completed an epic September collapse.
There seemed to be a carryover when Atlanta was swept in its season-opening series in New York against the Mets, then lost the opener of its next series at Houston. But the Braves bounced back to win the past two games against the Astros, calming their grumbling fan base just a bit before they headed home.
“Road trips get longer and longer,” Jones said. “Especially when you lose the first four, you miss home at lot. It will be good to get back to Atlanta and play in front of the home fans, who we haven’t seen in a long time. The home opener is always a special occasion no matter when it comes.”
This will be Jones’ last Opening Day in Atlanta.
Plagued by injuries, the almost-40-year-old third baseman announced in spring training that he’ll retire after the season. That very day, he sustained another knee injury, requiring minor surgery that put him on the disabled list at the start of the year.
Jones was activated in Houston, joining a team that was 0-4 at the time. He homered in his first game back and seems to have steadied the team.
Beyond that, he’s not putting any special importance on his final home opener.
“I don’t come to the ballpark thinking about all that stuff,” Jones said. “My job is to go out in the middle of the lineup and play third base for the Atlanta Braves. That’s how I keep it simple, and I don’t really pay attention to much of the outside stuff. I think I probably won’t start paying attention to a lot of that stuff until later on in the year, August and September when it’s coming down to the wire and I know I only have a limited number of games left.”