For playoff first-timers, Chipper 'calming influence'

For playoff first-timers, Chipper 'calming influence'

For playoff first-timers, Chipper 'calming influence'
ATLANTA -- Of the 25 players on the Braves' active roster for Friday's National League Wild Card game against the Cardinals, 12 have playoff experience. For some, that amounts to just a handful of games. Others, such as Chipper Jones, are truly October veterans.

Jones, who has a .288 batting average in 92 playoff games, said postseason experience can be beneficial in slowing the game down. He said his role is to be a "calming influence" during the playoffs.

"I think the young guys have a tendency to just step in the box and take a swing and step in the box and get ready," Jones said. "Everything's just really amped up, and you have to slow them down and calm them down. The game's not played any differently just because the stakes are a little higher right now."

NL Wild Card

While much of the Cardinals' roster was a part of last year's World Series championship team, five of the Braves' starters Friday -- left fielder Martin Prado, first baseman Freddie Freeman, second baseman Dan Uggla, shortstop Andrelton Simmons and right-hander Kris Medlen -- will be playing in their first playoff game.

Even with all the young players, Jones said he isn't worried about Atlanta's inexperience. At Thursday's workout, he didn't see the same overeager and "amped up" behavior he has in the past with other playoff teams. Instead, the Braves took batting practice seriously.

"Everybody was focused [Thursday]," Jones said. "There wasn't a lot of joking around. There weren't a lot of guys swinging from the heels. They were working on stuff. That's a maturation process I was happy to see [Thursday]."