Lowe makes Braves debut

As I was walking by the Braves clubhouse on my way back up to the press box, Derek Lowe  made sure that I heard him say something like  “Don’t worry kid, it’s just your first Spring Training start.  Go get ‘em.  You’ll be fine.”

The dude is downright hilarious.  He has a sense of humor that I’d liken to Will Ferrell’s.  In fact, before he threw his first pitch today, I was thinking he might fist-bump Dave Ross and say “Shake and Bake.”   Yeah, I just said that.

Along with seeing Lowe make his first appearance with the Braves today, we’ll get a chance to watch Blaine Boyer make his Spring debut.

Chipper Jones, Brian McCann, Gregor Blanco (Venezuela) and Jorge Campillo (Mexico) will leave Braves camp after Sunday’s game and travel to join their respective teams in preparation for the World Baseball Classic.

Javier Vazquez won’t join his Puerto Rican teammates until Monday.  He and Jair Jurrjens will throw three innings a piece during an intersquad game that will be held at Disney’s Wide World of Sports complex on Monday morning. 

Today’s starting lineup:
Jordan Schafer CF
Kelly Johnson 2B
Yunel Escobar SS
Casey Kotchman 1B
Matt Diaz DH
Brandon Jones LF
David Ross C
Martin Prado 3B
Gregor Blanco RF

- Mark Bowman   

20 Comments

Lowe surrendered a pair of groundball singles during a scoreless first inning…Singles by Yunel Escobar and David Ross have accounted for the two hits the Braves have registered in the first two innings against Roy Halladay, who opened the game with consecutive strikeouts of Schafer and Johnson…Four games into the Grapefruit League season and the Braves have already faced Verlander, Oswalt and Halladay.

I am particularly interested in how Boyer looks today. Especially after an offseason with John Smoltz. Last year he and Acosta gave me ulcers every time they came in.

Let me know about that “spectator experience” whenever you find out. Thanks Mark!

Lowe ended his outing with consecutive strikeouts of Marco Scutaro and Aaron Hill. The Blue Jay started the second inning with three consecutive singles off the sinkerballer. But after Jason Lane registered his RBI single to give the Jays a 1-0 lead, Lowe seemed to find his groove.

Never mind. I did some more research. Apparently you pay and they let you have field access at or around home plate for 2 hrs before game time. Sounds pretty sweet! I think I may give it a shot!

Because he struggled against lefties in the Minors last year, some have wondered how Schafer will fare against big league southpaws. While that remains to be seen, he just drew a walk during an impressive plate appearance against All-Star closer B.J. Ryan. He worked the count full and fouled off two pitches before drawing ball four…Kelly Johnson followed with a double into the left-center gap and Schafer once again showed his sped by scoring from first.

Spring Training isn’t a time for closers to shine. Mike Gonzalez encountered some struggles on Thursday and the Braves chased Ryan after he’d recorded just two outs in the third. Matt Diaz scored Johnson with an RBI double to give the Braves a 3-1 lead….Lowe threw 24 of his 35 pitches for strikes.

Kelly Johnson just recorded a second straight hit against a left-hander…Lowe said he primarily threw his curveball after surrendering those three straight hits to begin the second inning…Boyer, ended his scoreless inning by getting Travis Snider to look at a called third strike, found some inconsistencies with his cutter. But for the most part, he was pleased with the results that he he worked on with John Smoltz’s assistance this offseason.

Schafer just doubled into the left field corner off left-handed pitcher Luis Perez and raced to third base when the left fielder bobbled the ball. This center field battle is going to get interesting. When he reaches Atlanta, this kid is going to be an instant fan favorite.

bravo, let me know if you’re going to be down on the field tomorrow. I never heard anything from the Braves. I think it’s solely an ESPN promotion.

Mark, not sure if you’ve addressed this before or not, but I don’t think Gregor playing in the WBC is a smart move for him…he should be concentrating on making the Braves’ roster out of spring training, which seems doubtful right now, and I don’t think he’s going to be seeing much playing time for Venezuela with the outfielders they have on that roster. Just seems like he’s making the wrong choice here, and it’s a shame, because I think he’s the best option to start the year in center for Atlanta.

Mark, not sure if you’ve addressed this before or not, but I don’t think Gregor playing in the WBC is a smart move for him…he should be concentrating on making the Braves’ roster out of spring training, which seems doubtful right now, and I don’t think he’s going to be seeing much playing time for Venezuela with the outfielders they have on that roster. Just seems like he’s making the wrong choice here, and it’s a shame, because I think he’s the best option to start the year in center for Atlanta.

Oops, didn’t mean to click submit twice…

abrave, I think Blanco might have come to camp with a 10 percent chance to making the Opening Day roster. His decision to play in the WBC, and possibly be away from camp for at least two weeks, reduces that chance to about one percent. Like I said earlier this week, before choosing to be too critical of this decision, let’s remember that the pressures to participate in the Classic are seemingly much greater in Venezuela than they are in most other nations.

Just a little over a week ago, Wren said that we are in “absolutely no hurry” to revamp our outfield. We still have $2.5 – $3 Million to spend from this off-season. We have A LOT OF “DECENT” outfielders (but they are all the EXACT SAME TYPE OF HITTERS). They are all good “batting average” hitters, but none of them have a great “On-Base Percentage”…. AND VERY LOW “SLUGGING %’…….. and Oh Yeah, NOT A SINGLE ONE OF OUR OUTFIELDERS HAVE PROVEN THEY CAN HIT MORE THAN 25 HOME RUNS CONSISTENTLY!!!!!!!!!!!!……… this is the only hole on our team……BUT IT IS A HUUUUUUUGE PROBLEM!!!, considering the large number of games we will be playing against the Phillies and Mets (teams we are trying to beat in our VERY COMPETITIVE NL EAST DIVISION!!!! They have several “SLUGGERS”!!!!… right now (as our team currently stands), we have absolutely no sluggers. We don’t have one man in our line-up that can completely change the momentum of a game with one swing with a 3-Run Homer. Don’t get me wrong……………… I TRULY APPRECIATE “SMALL BALL”………. BUT IF YOU WANT TO WIN THE NL EAST (OR EVEN THE (1) SPOT FOR THE NL WILD CARD), YOU NEED AT LEAST “”””1″”””” PLAYER ON YOUR TEAM HOW CAN HIT 25 HOME RUNS (or at least the equivelant of 25 home runs if they had an “everyday-player ammount” of at-bats. Do you guys really remember HOW FRUSTERATING thost games against the Phillies were last year??? We need to pick up a power-bat with our $2.5 – 3 Million we still have left to invest (sooner is better than later)!!!!!

Saltlake, just once more for the amusement.
While watching every one of the Phillies games last season, I don’t remember once saying to myself “Jeez, if we just had a washed up 40 year old outfielder named Edmonds, we’d be winning this game.”
I did however say outloud on many occasions during those games “What is Jo Jo doing in the majors?”, or “Do we not have any pitchers who can throw strikes?” and finally “How does a slug like Pat Burrell stay in the NL as bad as his game is?”
If I have a guy who can hit 20 HR and can play the game the right way, and you have a guy who can hit 25 HRs, but he strikes out all the time and can’t play a lick of OF, I’ll beat you EVERY TIME.
Say we get this schlepp you are begging for, who do we release? Who do we block in the minors? In your mind, how is this guy better than Schafer or Anderson? What happens to Garrett Anderson in your scenario? Schafer has a homer in only 3 games. In your warped little calculation that means he should hit over 50 this year. So aren’t we fine anyway?
Seriously, if you’re over 12 years old, I feel for you.

If the weather cooperates, Peter Moylan is going to make his debut today. He’s said he’s like to be ready by Opening Day and the fact that he’s already throwing in a game provides indication that he might achieve this goal. The Braves would obviously be thrilled to start the season with Gonzalez, Soriano and Moylan at the back end of their pen.

Javy Lopez was in the clubhouse this morning talking to the guys and promoting his new bat company called Bones. I’ll provide more details about this company in a story that I’ll write later today.

No snow up here in Atlanta yet Mark.

Yeah, given the weather you guys are expected to get up there today, I guess we shouldn’t complain about any rain delays that we might encounter today. It’s pouring right now and there’s a chance of rain throughout the afternoon.

Time to go find a couple of the real characters and see what transpires. To bad for Bravomania, he is down there today as well.

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