(Staff writer Carroll Rogers is filling in for David O’Brien today.)
So we’ve got our first noon start of the season today (weather permitting), and first of five games the Braves will start play in the noon hour on getaway days this year.
The Braves will have three noon-ish starts at Turner Field this year (also May 3 vs. the Phillies and July 19 vs. the Giants), after having three home games at noon in the past three years combined. From what I understand the reasoning is two-fold: a) to accommodate teams on getaway days. The Braves leave after today’s game for Arizona, while the Mets go home. And b) to allow school groups to come to games and still get back to campus by the time school is out.
But today, this morning from the clubhouse, you know what else it meant, the quick turnaround after a night game? Sleep deprivation…and a morning of punchiness. It was pretty entertaining, I have to say.
Eric Hinske blows into the clubhouse barking about Atlanta traffic and puts on a nice display for everybody, knocking over a grocery cart used to collect laundry in the middle of the clubhouse. In jest, of course. Seems traveling down the connector in the eight o’clock hour is something ballplayers aren’t exactly used to.
Then we got to talking about Jamie Moyer and his impressive feat last night, and when the first time Chipper Jones faced him, and how Moyer was pitching against Steve Carlton in his first game back in 1986, and Hinkse goes to Chipper “You faced Steve Carlton?” Buddum bum. Chipper was actually a freshman in high school that year.
At 49, Moyer became the oldest pitcher to win a major league game last night with a win over the Padres. Jones said he faced Moyer for the first time in Triple-A in 1993 in Rochester, NY when Moyer was in Triple-A with the Orioles.
“He gave me a rather comfortable 0-for-3 that day,” Jones said and grinned. “He was crafty then too. Obviously he threw a little harder than he does now, but not a guy that you would deem overpowering. But he had some big league experience….Jamie is one of those freaks. He’s got an iron will and the heart of a lion, and just wants to go out and compete.”
1. Michael Bourn CF
2. Martin Prado LF
3. Jason Heyward RF
4. Dan Uggla 2B
5. Freddie Freeman 1B
6. Juan Francisco 3B
7. David Ross C
8. Tyler Pastornicky SS
9. Jair Jurrjens P
Brian McCann gets today off, day game after a night game, and Ross gets his second start of the season. Chipper Jones was going to get the day off today anyway but after the way he hobbled around the bases last night, going first to third, it was pretty clear he needed one anyway.
“I’m going through the domino effect right now,” Jones said. “The knee is obviously not all the way back yet and when you favor it and you try and play other things start hurting. You start trying to compensate.”
Jones is hoping with the day off he’ll be ready to play against tomorrow in Arizona, but the plane flight is a complicating factor. Flying back from Houston is what caused his surgically-repaired left knee to swell up to begin with. He said he’ll have his knee taped after the game today in the hopes to minimize that this time around.
Uggla is due for a day off soon. Fredi Gonzalez is trying to give a regular a day off here and three through this 13-game stretch, not that he wants to tell Uggla. He says Uggla wants to fight him whenever he gives him a day off, so yesterday he kidded that I would need to be the one to tell Uggla. Hey, I’m game. I can tell him, then take off running (smile).
If there’s any day Uggla might be OK with sitting, maybe it would have been today? He entered the game 0-for-23 against Mets knuckler R.A. Dickey with five strikeouts, two walks and one RBI.
This little nugget comes compliments of the always informative Adam Rubin of ESPN New York. If Dickey throws a 15th straight quality start today, it will be the longest such streak by a Met since Dwight Gooden had same length in 1985-1986. Not too shabby.
In the words of the ever colorful David Ross this morning…”Lordy, lordy, the Battle-axe is turning 40.” Chipper will celebrate his 40th birthday on Tuesday when the Braves are in LA. Asked him if he had an special plans. His family will be back in Atlanta because his three young sons are in school. He said he might be meeting up with his buddies Jason Aldean and Luke Bryan, country music stars, who he thinks might be in LA performing.
Speaking of celebs, former Auburn Heisman trophy winner and two-sport dynamo Bo Jackson will be throwing out the first pitch today, in town drumming up publicity for his bike ride to raise money for tornado victims in Alabama. For information, go to www.bobikesbama.com.