09/09/12 7:40 PM ET
Thriving in 'pen, Moylan notches save vs. Mets
By Mark Bowman / MLB.com
"That's been huge for me from a confidence standpoint to know that they have the confidence in me in those situations," Moylan said. "As a relief pitcher, confidence is a huge thing. You can go a month throwing well, and as soon as you have a few bad innings in a row, you think, 'Maybe I don't have it anymore.'"
Moylan said these words Sunday morning a few hours before tossing a scoreless 10th inning to secure the Braves' 3-2 win over the Mets and provide him his first save since getting a generous called third strike against the Tigers on June 26, 2010.
"To not being able to get guys out in Triple-A to being back here in the big leagues, it's been a fun journey," Moylan said. "Let's face it, the past six years have been a fun journey. This just adds to it."
This has been quite a year for Moylan, who remained at the club's Spring Training complex through the end of July. Once he completed the rigorous rehab following shoulder surgery, he spent August working his way through the Minor League levels.
Moylan has allowed one hit and no earned runs in the 3 2/3 innings that he has pitched since rejoining Atlanta's bullpen last week. The veteran reliever might not be back to the level he was just a couple years ago when he was one of the team's top middle relievers, but he's seemingly moving in the right direction.
"I'd like to be a little more consistent with my breaking ball," Moylan said. "I think I've been successful without a good breaking ball, because I had a good one in the past and guys are still expecting me to have the same one. It's still there, but it's just not as consistent as it was."
Chipper pinch-hits in final game vs. Mets in NY
NEW YORK -- Encouraged by the way his bothersome left knee had improved overnight, Chipper Jones informed Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez that he could put him in the lineup for Sunday afternoon's game against the Mets at Citi Field.
But looking at the big picture, Gonzalez opted to take the cautious route. Thus Jones was out of the starting lineup in his last regular-season game in New York and in front of the Mets fans with which he has developed a love-hate relationship over the past two decades. He walked as a pinch-hitter in the ninth and was then removed for pinch-runner Reed Johnson in the Braves' 3-2 victory.
"It's obviously kind of bittersweet," Jones said. "It's the last time I'll be coming here as a player unless we face the Yankees in the World Series. I wish things would have worked out so I could have played today. I really wanted to get out there today. But as I've said so many times, sometimes the body doesn't allow you to do so."
This was certainly not the first time Jones was forced to take the cautious route by resting his left knee after playing a few days in a row. But given the history he has had with Mets fans, this was certainly a unique situation.
After Jones hit four home runs in a three-game series that allowed the Braves to beat the Mets for the National League East crown in 1999, he became a marked man among Mets fans, who have loved to mockingly chant his given first name, "Lah-REE," over the years.
"I've had a gradual changing of my perception of the fans the last five or six years," Jones said. "It's certainly a lot more cordial. I'm getting a lot of hits from Mets fans on Twitter saying that they still hate me, but still respect [my] career. I think they're more frustrated with the Mets than they are with me. But still, it's nice to interact. I never thought I'd look at social media as being a good thing. It turns out, it is because it's given me a chance to interact not just with Braves fans."
Most of Jones' success in New York was achieved before the Mets moved to Citi Field before the start of the 2009 season. He batted .313 with 19 home runs and a .964 OPS in 88 games at Shea Stadium. The Mets recognized him on Friday by presenting him with a 3D picture that commemorated some of this success at Shea.
"It's been awesome to come out here and play on this stage," Jones said. "I'm grateful that I had the opportunity and I'm grateful to the Mets organization for all of their generosity and hospitality this weekend. The fans have been receptive. I've heard a lot of cheers when I've walked up to the plate, some chants [Saturday] night, late. I'm not used to hearing that particular chant. It's usually 'Larry.' Last night, it was 'Chipper.' So that was cool."
Hinske hopes home run gets him on right track
NEW YORK -- Having played in three consecutive World Series from 2007-09, Eric Hinske understands how to deal with the increased pressure felt during playoff games. But before hitting a home run in the ninth inning of Saturday's 11-3 win over the Mets, there was some reason to wonder if Hinske would be part of the postseason roster if the Braves reach the playoffs.
When the Braves signed Lyle Overbay to a Minor League contract in August and added him to their expanded roster last week, it was in response to the fact that Hinske has endured one of the most frustrating years of his career. He had recorded three hits while compiling just 28 at-bats dating back to June 28, and his only other home run had come during a four-hit game against the Rockies on May 4.
"You want to feel good going down the stretch and you want to help the team win," Hinske said. "I hadn't had an at-bat in a while. I was just up there trying to be aggressive, and I got a good pitch to hit. I'm still preparing like I'll be used in a key pinch-hit situation."
Hinske hit 10 home runs while compiling 264 plate appearances last year. With 22 games left in this season, he had gathered just 138 plate appearances. While the lack of consistent playing time has hurt him, it has not damaged his selfless approach.
"We're winning and I'll do whatever I can to help the team win," Hinske said. "My personal situation aside, I'll do whatever they ask."
While this one home run does not necessarily guarantee Hinske would be on the postseason roster, it does certainly strengthen his candidacy. Overbay, who was released by the D-backs in July, has been hitless in three at-bats with the Braves.
Mark Bowman is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.