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Bulls, Braves rained out in Game 409/14/2007 9:26 PM ET
By Kevin T. Czerwinski / MLB.com
RICHMOND, Va. -- The Durham Bulls will have to wait at least one more day to try and clinch the Governors' Cup after Game 4 of the Championship Series was rained out Friday.
Game 4 is slated for Saturday at 3 p.m. ET. Should the Bulls win, they will capture the International League crown. Should Richmond win, the teams will play a decisive fifth game at 7 p.m. in what would be a single-admission doubleheader.
"This is not a dollars-and-cents things and we weren't trying to get two gates," International League president Randy Mobley said. "What we're trying to do is give it the respect it deserves. It's the championship, so it deserves it. We also wanted to respect the players and not create a long period of time in between games. We anticipate having an adequate amount of time if we need to have a fifth game and not rush into it."
It began drizzling just after 6 p.m. Friday evening in Richmond and the grounds crew wasted little time getting the tarp on the field. By 7 p.m., game time, the drizzle had become a steady rain and by the time Mobley and officials from both teams announced the postponement shortly after 8 p.m., it was obvious there wouldn't be a break in the weather.
While the rainout and the decision to play two games Saturday created an interesting situation, Mobley said it's one that couldn't be avoided because of the Bricktown Showdown on Tuesday in Oklahoma City.
"We have an obligation in Oklahoma City and because of travel and all that, we did what we needed to do," he said. "We didn't promise them [Oklahoma City officials] that we'd be there on Sunday, but we felt a need to be there on Sunday, so we didn't want to be playing that day. I don't think anyone's unhappy about this."
The Braves may just be the happier of the two teams, though, because the rainout allowed them to shuffle their rotation. Kevin Barry was slated to start Game 4, with Jeff Bennett getting the nod in Game 5. Bennett, who won Game 1 on Tuesday and is 2-0 with a 0.79 ERA in two playoff starts, will now start the fourth game, with Barry going in Game 5, if necessary.
The Bulls will stick with Jae Kuk Ryu in Game 4 and Mitch Talbot in Game 5, if needed, though manager Charlie Montoyo said that J.P. Howell would be available out of the 'pen -- but not Game 2 winner Jeff Niemann.
"Having Bennett go for them is a big difference," Montoyo said. "But there's nothing you can do about it. We can just do the best we can."
NOTES: Richmond's Brent Lillibridge has hit safely in all seven playoff games [10-for-33, .333]. ... Teammate Buddy Hernandez saw his 13-inning postseason scoreless streak -- dating back to 2004 -- end in the seventh inning of Game 3 when he allowed three runs. ... SS Brooks Badeaux is the only current Bulls player who was a member of their 2002-03 championship teams. He has one hit in four at-bats this postseason. Bulls' shortstops are 1-for-20 in the playoffs. ... Mobley said that if Tuesday's Bricktown Showdown is rained out, it will be played Wednesday, but that it won't be televised by ESPN2. In the unlikely event it gets washed away on Wednesday as well, the game would not be made up.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.