Well, good Monday morning to you on this crisper than normal May day. If you were looking for something to perk you up, to help you through a case of the Mondays, how about this? Just read that this year’s World Series games will start before 8 p.m., about 40 minutes earlier than has become the norm.
Hey, ‘bout dang time.
Maybe some kids will actually get to watch the games before they have to go to bed. (And hey, maybe some newspaper reporters will make their deadlines.)
This is a deal that MLB and Fox agreed to, so it will be in effect for both World Series and ALCS games. Now we need TBS to step up – the network that gave us 7:35 p.m. starts for the Braves all these years. What was that for, Fresh Prince episodes? Follow their lead in the NLCS and Division Series games, TBS. It’s the right thing to do.
Fox’s pre-game show will start at 7:30. The first pitch will be just before 8 p.m. The report says it’s the first time in 30 years when a World Series game will start before 8.
HOME WOES: Not that Braves fans need to concern themselves with World Series games just yet. This team is still in need of some solid play at home. Just when it looked like they’d brought some momentum home from that 6-2 road trip with a ninth inning rally on Friday night, they put up the 12-0 stinker on Saturday. Then the rainout yesterday, which came – oddly enough – just in time for the rain to stop.
So the Braves are looking at four games against the Rockies, who run former Brave Jason Marquis out to the hill tonight.
Marquis is only 1-3 with an 11.45 ERA in five starts against his former team. He’d had nothing but disaster outings against the Braves (six runs, six runs, 12 runs and six runs allowed) until last year as a Chicago Cub, when he held them to two runs in 5 1/3 innings on August 13 at Turner Field. It was his first start against the Braves in which he didn’t allow a homer. Before that, he’d given up nine long balls in four starts vs. the Braves.
He’ll be happy to be away from Coors Field, though. He is 2-2 with a 7.13 ERA at home this year, and 2-1 with a 3.43 ERA on the road.
ROCKIES LOWDOWN: A couple of other things to note about the Rockies: They are 1-8 in one-run games this season. Hey, remember what that felt like?
And Todd Helton is back to his old ways. The 12-year veteran out of the University of Tennessee is hitting .347 with four home runs and 21 RBIs this season. He’s hitting .400 (22-for-55) in the month of May.
And oh, this: he’s sitting on 1,999 career hits. Next knock and he’ll become the first Colorado Rockie to collect 2,000 hits and the 256th player overall. He and Jason Kendall are both sitting on 1,999.
Helton missed most of last season with back problems. But he’s found a way to deal with that, apparently – he’s been sleeping in a hyperbaric chamber, according to the venerable Tracy Ringolsby, formerly of the Rocky Mountain News, and member of our notes group. hyperbaric chamber
Wow, just looked up some photos of those things on-line, and I sure hope he’s got the clear-covered kind. Either that or he has no problem with claustrophobia. And the next question would be: can he bring that thing on the road?
LOWE, TOEING THE RUBBER: OK, enough on the Rockies? Then we’ll bring it home with Derek Lowe, who will be starting things off tonight for the rotation that was a little mixed up by the rain delay. He and Jair Jurrjens were pushed back a day, Javier Vazquez will go Wednesday on regular rest – still looking for his first win at home – and rookie Kris Medlen will debut on Thursday.
Having Lowe go tonight is good news for the Braves offense. The Braves have scored 8, 8, 7 and 10 runs in his last four starts, all of which Lowe has won, by the way. He deserved it, though, in all but maybe one when he allowed six runs to Jorge Cantu and the Marlins on May 6. But in each of the other three starts he’s allowed only two runs each time and pitched at least 6 2/3 innings.
Medlen should be throwing a side session today and kicking up even more energy about making his major league debut on Thursday. I was hoping it would be Tuesday since I’m down to cover tonight and tomorrow night’s games (it’s Carroll here), but they must not have considered that when banging yesterday’s game, now did they?
THINGS TO WATCH: Tom Glavine is supposed to be throwing three innings of a simulated game today and if all goes well, and his shoulder bounces back OK tomorrow, he should pitch in a minor league game on Saturday.
And from Gwinnett, keep an eye on Tony Armas Jr., the former major league starter who has allowed two runs in 8 2/3 innings so far for the G-Braves. He’s got a 2.08 ERA in two starts, including yesterday’s no-decision in Lehigh Valley. He had to come out after 3 2/3 innings because he’d thrown 77 pitches. But so far, so good for him.
Brian Barton’s got a four-game hitting streak to get up to .250, and he had the game-winning hit vs. Lehigh Valley on Sunday. Good karma from a Sunday story in the AJC? Hey, it’s no Sports Illustrated jinx.