Muse: It’s bad enough that Fox messed up the Dodgers. Now they’re making life difficult for the Angels. OK, the Yankees, too. The upshot is that Fox network officials decreed that Game 4 of the rain-delayed Angels-Yankees series would start at 8 p.m. New York time Sunday, and that Game 5 back in Anaheim tonight will start at 5 p.m. L.A. time. Today’s coast-to-coast baseball edition of The Sporting Muse: News: Angels-Yankees AL Divisional Series gets new theme, “Sleepless in SoCal.” Meaning, with the Yankees claiming Game 4, that the two teams will start Game 5 about 21 hours after the end of Game 4, with a coast-to-coast flight in-between. Talk about turbulence. Pity the players who can’t sleep in the air. The teams arrived here a few hours before this newspaper hit your morning doorstep and will be back at the Big A around 2 p.m. Not exactly conducive to the best kind of baseball. But baseball gives Fox the leeway to make the call on game times in search of Nielsen ratings and ad dollars, common sense be damned. If you’re a betting man, don’t expect a lot of scoring. Both starters, Bartolo Colon and Mike Mussina, will be well-rested because they weren’t with their teams. News: Angels miss their shot. Muse: It is bothersome that the Angels can come out and mash one night and then struggle the next, a season-long habit. This is the second time in the series that they made rookies who throw breaking pitches Shawn Chacon and Chien-Ming Wang look like Hall of Famers. Mike Scioscia made the right move in starting John Lackey in place of the ill Jarrod Washburn, because he’s the starter most capable of working on short rest, and he performed superbly. Plus, the extra day of rest should be an asset for Colon, whose back has been troubling him, and there was no reason to save Lackey for the next series. The Angels have four advantages tonight. They didn’t use Frankie Rodriguez while the Yankees needed a two-inning save from their closer, Mariano Rivera; Colon has incentive to make up for his slow start in Game 1; the Angels shouldn’t be confused by the soft-serve stuff of Mussina after seeing it in Game 1; and they’re not scared of pinstripes. News: Braves fans switch chants to “Tomahawk Choke.” Muse: That’s the cruelest word to throw at a sports team, but Atlanta embraces it. After all, winning 14 straight division titles sounds like a great accomplishment, but when you have one World Series title and handfuls of embarrassing playoff bow-outs, it applies. The Braves’ blew 5-0 and 6-1 leads in Game 4 of their divisional series against Houston Sunday, making it four straight first-round exits and five times in the last six years. Since the Braves advanced to the 1999 World Series, their postseason record is 11-23, and they’ve spread the love, with playoff series losses to the Cardinals, DiamondBacks, Giants, Cubs and Astros. There’s a reason why Braves fans don’t spend their money on first-round games. The Braves won the season series against the Astros, 5-1, and outscored them 42-13 in the process. Meaningless. The common denominator in this unique streak all the division bling and playoff clang is manager Bobby Cox. The second-guessing for 2005 will be his decision to skip John Smoltz’s turn in the rotation and his use of inexperienced closer Kyle Farnsworth on Sunday. Farnsworth came into the game in the eighth and gave up the Lance Berkman grand slam, then returned in the ninth and gave up the two-out home run to Brad Ausmus, who came into the at-bat with 71 career home runs in 13 major league seasons. It would have been interesting to see the game go longer than the 18 innings it did. Roger Clemens worked three innings, and the Astros only had two players left Roy Oswalt, who started Game 3, and Andy Pettite, who was scheduled to start Game 4. News: Astros and Cardinals meet in NLCS, again. Muse: The series went a draining seven games last season and it could go seven again, mostly because the Astros can feasibly start Oswalt, Pettite and Clemens in six of seven games. The Cardinals are playing brisk, efficient baseball and deserve to be favored, but the Astros have been to the playoffs six times since 1995 and seem due to finally get to the World Series. News: Padres swept away like dust. Muse: Shocking development. The Padres never led in their series against the Cards, either. The best thing about the sweep is that the NL West chumps went 82-83 on the season including the playoffs. The Padres scored 11 runs in the three games. The Cardinals’ Reggie Sanders drove in ten by himself. Sanders may be the most underrated and unique clutch player in baseball. After spending eight years with the Reds, he has been with six teams in the last seven seasons, and has helped his team to the playoffs five of those seven seasons. In 1999, he led the Padres with 26 home runs. In 2000, he helped the Braves to the NL East title. A year later, he hit 33 home runs and won a World Series ring with Arizona. In 2002, he was back in the series with the Giants after swatting 23 home runs in the regular season. He led the Pirates in home runs in 2003 (31), and hit 22 last year and 21 this year for the Cardinals. The Dodgers considered signing a couple of times during this run, and for Sanders’ sake, he has to be thankful they didn’t. News: White Sox make Boston bleed. Muse: Terry Francona made all the right moves a year ago, but the Red Sox manager muffed the first-round series, what with Curt Schilling not making a start and the Sox using a reeling Matt Clement in Game 1 and moving their most effective starter in September, Bronson Arroyo, to the bullpen. It might not have made a difference, though, considering the way the Red Sox pitched in general. The difference a year ago was clutch pitching. The problem this year was a lack of it. News: Baseball officials laud parity. Muse: What parity? Since the playoffs were expanded in 1995, there’s been a lot of repeat customers in the postseason. Of the 44 berths available in the NL, 23 were claimed by Atlanta (11), St. Louis (6) and Houston (6). The NL West has been the only division defining parity the Giants made four postseason appearances and the Padres, D-Backs and Dodgers three each (and just one appearance in nine years for the Bums). Ditto in the AL, where the Yankees (11), Red Sox (6) and Indians (6) have more than half of the berths. Again, it’s the west with some parity, Oakland and Seattle having made four appearances and the Angels and Rangers three each. 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!