Dodgers-Braves Preview

Associated Press  |  Last updated August 16, 2012
While it may be his farewell season, Chipper Jones is prepared to make his long goodbye last into October. The veteran slugger tries to build on one of his best games of the season Friday night when the Atlanta Braves open a three-game series versus the NL West-leading Los Angeles Dodgers. The 40-year-old Jones was slowed by injuries earlier this season and has adjusted his workload accordingly to stay fresh as Atlanta (69-49) enters the stretch run atop the wild-card chase and four games behind Washington in the East. After an off day, Jones had his first multihomer game since 2009 to power the Braves to their third straight win, 6-0 over San Diego on Thursday night. "You always want to make a splash and bring people to their feet," said Jones, whose second homer was his 2,700th hit. "This is just another of a handful of games this year that have been awfully special to me." The third baseman is batting .336 with eight homers and 31 RBIs in 43 games at home, hitting safely in his last seven games there. Jones, however, has done little versus Dodgers scheduled starter Chris Capuano, going 1 for 13 with five strikeouts. Capuano (11-8, 3.11 ERA) also enters coming off one of his best outings as he tries to win back-to-back starts for the first time since late May. The left-hander carried a no-hitter into the seventh and scattered two hits and three walks while striking out 10 over eight innings of a 5-0 win at Miami on Saturday. "Donnie (Dodgers manager Mattingly) said I was over 100 pitches, and he wanted to take me out and keep me fresh for Atlanta, where it will be hot," Capuano told the team's official website. "I felt good, I wanted to finish it. But I also understand he's managing for the season, and he wants to keep the staff strong all year." Capuano defeated Atlanta on April 23, giving up a solo homer among six hits in seven innings of a 7-2 victory. He has won three consecutive starts over the Braves, allowing three runs in 21 innings while fanning 24. Los Angeles (65-54) had its divisional lead over San Francisco cut to one-half game with Thursday's 10-6 loss at Pittsburgh that prevented a sweep of the four-game series. Mattingly and outfielder Matt Kemp were ejected in the second inning for drawing the ire of plate umpire Angel Campos, which frustrated the Dodgers' skipper. "This isn't about being mad," Mattingly said. "This is something that has to go above me. It needs to go to the league. We're in a pennant race, and I've got a guy who was second in the MVP (voting) last year, and you can't take him out of the game for cheering for a teammate. If we had gone out of control, that's different. This is just unacceptable behavior (by Campos)." Kemp may face disciplinary measures for bumping Campos and could also miss out facing Tommy Hanson (12-5, 4.29), whom the Braves will activate from the disabled list prior to the game. The right-hander had been sidelined with a strained lower back and won his last two outings before the injury. Manager Fredi Gonzalez said Hanson will be part of a six-man rotation for Atlanta, which is in a 20-game, 20-day stretch that will end Aug. 30. Hanson is 1-1 with a 3.32 ERA in three starts versus the Dodgers, whom he has not faced since 2010.
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