Did Barmes make the catch?
At the conclusion of Monday night’s win over the Marlins at Turner Field, the big video board in center field ran a clip that concluded with Chipper Jones saying, “It’s time to believe.”
There’s no doubt that it’s time to believe that the Braves could erase the two-game deficit they currently possess against the Rockies and find their way into postseason.
But I’m not sure that Rockies second baseman Clint Barmes truly believes that he made that miraculous catch that ended Sunday’s 4-3 win over the Cardinals.
With runners at the corners and one out, Barmes raced into shallow right field and made what appeared to be a tremendous over-the-shoulder catch while tumbling and turning into the Coors Field grass. He then quickly turned and threw to first base to complete a game-ending double play.
“By the time I looked back up, the ball was on top of me,” Barmes told MLB.com. “That was where it kind of got all off-balance, with the roll…As I was going down, it hit my glove then went across my body or something and … I don’t even know, but I came up with it in my bare hand.”
But did he come up with the ball in his hand before it hit the ground?
Before screaming about the need for Major League Baseball to broaden its instant replay system, I’ve got to tell you that I’ve looked at this video clip countless times this morning and I still haven’t seen the ball hit the ground.
But in the fan photo section that The Denver Post runs, Craig Welling has posted at least one shot that appears to show the ball on the ground. Click here to see all of the pictures that Welling has taken of this moment and posted on his photoblog.
Here is the most revealing shot he took. This is the only view that I’ve found that shows that the ball seemingly did hit the grass.
Former MLB.com colleague Troy Renck addressed this question for The Denver Post and received an interesting answer from the always light-hearted and media-friendly Ryan Spilborghs, who was racing in from right field as Barmes performed his acrobatics.
“Only me and Barmes know the truth,” Spilborghs told Renck. “It’s the same as (Matt) Holliday touching home plate. It’s better that it’s (mysterious).”
When the Rockies won their one-game playoff against the Padres in 2007, they did so with Matt Holliday seemingly sliding across the plate with the winning run. But replays never confirmed that he actually touched the plate.
If the Rockies hold off the Braves and gain the National League Wild Card entry, this Barmes play will be one that’s celebrated in Denver and heavily debated in Atlanta.
But just like the Braves can’t lament the fact that they lost a four-run, seventh-inning lead during their July 12 loss at Coors Field, they can’t lose focus now by worrying about whether or not Barmes truly made this catch.
With the Marlins sending Josh Johnson to the mound to oppose Tim Hudson tonight, the Braves are preparing to face what appears to be the greatest challenge that they’ll encounter over the course of the final six games.
Johnson went 3-1 with a 2.18 ERA in his first eight career appearances against the Braves. But the big right-hander has gone 1-1 with a 4.34 ERA in his past three outings against them.
One thing going for the Braves is the fact that Johnson may still be feeling the effects of the flu symptoms that caused him to miss Sunday’s scheduled start. He’s completed just five innings in three of his four starts this month and has thrown more than 92 pitches in just two of his past seven outings.
The Braves also can only hope that Jason Marquis continues his recent struggles when he takes the mound for the Rockies in their series opener against the Brewers tonight.
The Rockies have won just one of Marquis’ past six starts and during this span, the former Braves hurler has gone 1-4 with a 6.49 ERA. He has been charged with five earned runs in four of this six outings.
Small crowd: Given the excitement the Braves have created while winning 15 of their past 17 games, it was disappointing to see the sparse, yet very enthusiastic crowd that attended Monday night’s game.
But this just doesn’t seem to be the time to once again bash the fans of Atlanta. Obviously this city was hit hard last week by floods and there are many individuals who are still attempting to recover.
The Braves have donated $25,000 to local aid organizations and before each remaining game this week they will collect flood relief donations in the Monument Grove area. They are asking fans to contribute monetary donations, gift cards, hygiene items, school supplies, non-perishable food items and baby items.
In exchange for monetary donations or books to help assist Clarksdale Elementary to rebuild its library that was destroyed last week, Hudson will sign autographs at Turner Field from 5:45-6:45 p.m. ET on Friday.