Braves third baseman Chipper Jones may play on the Nationals' closest rival for the 2012 N.L. East crown, but that doesn't stop him from giving credit where credit is due. So far this season he has gushed about both Stephen Strasburg and Bryce Harper, and now he has praise for the team's pitching staff as a whole.
Jones told USA Today how he thinks the Nats' arms are perfect for the playoffs:
"Power arms, power arms that's what translates in the postseason," Jones said. "It's cold, guys are all wrapped up, it's hard to center the ball when a guy throws it 100 miles an hour. And these guys have a bunch of 'em."
He went on to name names like Gio Gonzalez and Ross Detwiler, each with fastballs in the mid-90's, but Jones didn't limit it to the starters.
"All the guys in their 'pen who throw 93 and above. Show me a team with at least two power arms at the top of their rotation and I'll show you a team that's more than likely going to go a long way in the postseason."
Jones himself has appeared in the playoffs 11 different times, a total of 20 postseason series'. As a member of the Braves since 1993, he has also witnessed first-hand great pitching as Atlanta once had one of the best rotations in history.
Jones sure is right about the Nats throwing hard, all five of the team's starters rank in the top 13 in the majors for average fastball velocity. Strasburg ranks first in the league with an average speed of 95.8 on his fastball, but he of course won't be pitching in the playoffs.
So many things have to break right for a team to reach the World Series and win it, but even without Strasburg they seem to have as good a chance as anybody. Even Chipper Jones agrees.