What's wrong with Chipper Jones?

Is Chipper Jones slowing down, or is he just having a bad second half of the season?

Has Chipper Jones slowed down?

He's on pace for 147 games, which would be the most games he's played since 2003. But he's also on pace for 21 home runs, which would be the fewest he's hit since 2005, when he played in only 109 games. Jones is on pace for 75 RBI, which is the same amount he had last season.

Jones had a streak of eight straight seasons with 100 RBI or more snapped in 2004, which was the season he started having trouble with injuries. Since 2005, Jones has averaged only 86 RBI, and only once in those five years did he surpass 100 RBI.

In Jones's prime seasons, from 1996 through 2003, as he was 24 through 31 years of age, he averaged 32 home runs and 107 RBI. Since then, and including his projected final stats this season, Jones has averaged 25 home runs and 84 RBI.

Even with the downturn in his statistics, Jones has a contract that will pay him $15 million dollars in each of the next three seasons. Plus, he's got an option for 2013 as well.

Jones has hit only .254 since the All-Star Break, with 7 home runs and only 17 RBI. He says he's tired, and he still has nicks and bruises. But the Braves desperately need Jones to play well the final month of the 2009 season if they are to have any chance at playing in October.

Bill Shanks hosts The Bill Shanks Show on WFSM Fox Sports 1670 in Macon, Georgia and The Braves Show Talk Show. Shanks writes a weekly baseball column for The Macon Telegraph and is the author of Scout's Honor: The Bravest Way To Build A Winning Team. You can email Bill at thebravesshow@email.com and follow him on Twitter at twitter.com/billshanks.

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