Lowe to start two openers

When the Braves gave Derek Lowe a four-year, $60 million contract in January, it was all but assumed that they’d also give him their Opening Day start.  Courtesy of the schedule, they’ve provided him a bonus by also scheduling him to start their home opener on April 10 at Turner Field. 

Lowe will start next Sunday’s game in Philadelphia amid some fans who might still be hungover from World Series parties.  Fortunately for their health, these same fans weren’t subjected to do any more celebrating in early February.  From what I understand only one Pennsylvania team celebrates Super Bowl victories. 

And we return to Lowe, who will make two starts before Kenshin Kawakami makes his season debut on April 11 at Turner Field.    With two scheduled offdays during the first week, the Braves have the opportunity to start their ace in two of their first four games. 

Of course Lowe has looked more like an ace in October than he has during the season’s first week.  He’s 0-3 with an 8.44 ERA in his three career Opening Day starts.    But the veteran sinkerballer is also 2-0 with a 2.25 ERA in the three career starts he’s made at the homer haven known as Citizens Bank Park. 

Jair Jurrjens is scheduled to pitch the second game agaisnt the Phillies and Javier Vazquez will pitch the April 8 series finale.  The order of these two right-handers primarily had to do with where Vazquez fit in the exhibition-season rotation after he returned from the World Baseball Classic. 

Kotchman and Anderson present:  There won’t be any Angels in the outfield today or tomorrow.  But if the rain cooperates, the Braves will have two former ones in their lineup this afternoon against the Tigers.

Garret Anderson, who has been sidelined since March 6 with a strained right calf, will serve as the designated hitter today and again during Monday’s game against the Red Sox.  The Braves may try to get him some time in left field on Tuesday.

Anderson is obviously way behind schedule and he may make up for lost time by participating in a Minor League game, where he could get as many at-bats as he’d like. 

Casey Kotchman is back in the lineup today for the first time since March 18.  The first baseman battled the flu and then possibly got a case of food poisoning when he started feeling better on Thursday.

Today’s Lineup:
Kelly Johnson 2B
Yunel Escobar SS
Garret Anderson DH
Jeff Francoeur RF
Casey Kotchman 1B
Omar Infante 3B
Jordan Schafer LF
David Ross C
Josh Anderson CF 

54 Comments

Here’s what our rotation for the month of April will most probably look like: (the numbers are the dates on which we have a game)

5 Lowe
7 Jurrjens
8 Vazquez
10 Lowe
11 Kawakami
12 Jurrjens
14 Vazquez
15 Lowe
16 Kawakami
17 Jurrjens
18 Glavine
19 Vazquez
20 Lowe
21 Kawakami
22 Jurrjens
24 Vazquez
25 Lowe
26 Kawakami
27 Jurrjens
28 Glavine
29 Vazquez

5 starts for Lowe, Jurrjens, and Vazquez, 4 for Kawakami, and 2 for Glavine.

Looks like they’re going to try to start today’s game at 1:50 p.m. ET. They’re taking the tarp off the field.

Nice to see Francoeur get his first homer of the spring, and it was a no doubter. Great rebound spring for Francoeur.

Anderson fell behind with a 1-2 count and then battled back to draw a walk in his first plate appearance…Francoeur got ahead with a 2-0 count and ended a six-pitch at-bat with a monstrous homer than landed at the top of the left field berm…The no-doubt blast traveled an estimated 400 feet.

Kotchman reintroduced himself to the lineup in impressive style with a homer to right-center field. Not bad considering he hadn’t seen live pitching since March 18.

WOW! Whos got the long ball working? The Braves!

If you told me at the end of last season that Francoeur and Kotchman would hit back-to-back homers against Bonderman in ST I’d have told you you’re insane.

Mark, It looks like the rotation is going to be Lowe, Jurrjens, Vasquez. Don’t you think it should be Lowe, Vasquez, Jurrjens? Don’t get me wrong, I love Jair but he is too young to be ahead of Vasquez, especially because Vasquez has had a lights out spring

jurrjens: It really doesn’t matter who you put into the second and third spots of the rotation. With different offdays, rainouts, etc. you’re not going to stay slotted against the No. 2 and No. 3 starters from opposing teams.

Based on when Vazquez returned from the WBC, I think it just made sense for the Braves to slot him and Jurrjens in this order.

It’s all about timing. Vazquez is starting the first Turner Field exhibition game against the Tigers so he’s unavailable on the 7th.

Though I think the Braves should’ve saved Vazquez for the home opener or the 11th and scheduled it so Kawakami gets one of the starts in Philly. Citizens Bank Park doesn’t like to keep the ball inside of it and Vazquez doesn’t like to keep the ball inside the park either. Though it probably won’t matter.

If at first you don’t succeed, do the exact same thing and hope for a different result.

I’m glad you’re not giving Jeff Francoeur advice, jurrjens4nlcy.

How are Jordan Schafer and Josh Anderson doing today?

Mark, was Schafer’s outfield assist a great throw or was it just a bad decision by magglio to go for second? I still believe Schafer has done to much to send him to the minors to start the season. He needs to be in CF even if it means he is eligible for super two.

Lewisjsk: they both are 0 for 2 with a strikeout. on the defensive side of things Schafer had an outfield assist getting magglio ordonez at second. havent heard of anything anderson has done

Braves10: Schafer’s 1st assist was a little of both. Schafer had a great throw after going from left center to the line in left to hawk down the ball. Magglio rounded first going full blast and then slowed up like he thought he had it.

This inning Schafer misplayed a ball in the outfield and it went over his head. The Tiger sent Matt Treanor from second and Schafer threw onto Yunel and they gunned him at the plate with David Ross doing a phenomenal job of blocking the plate.

So does that count as another outfield assist for Schafer? Have you heard anything on who is in the lead at the moment to start in center next Sunday?

Telling sign: Schafer is in center, Josh Anderson is in left. I think we keep Schafer in the minors for 12 days to delay his FA 1 year, but not for 6-8 weeks to delay his arbitration clock.

braves10, I think the organization is trying to move Josh Anderson at the moment. If he is moved, Blanco will be the starter. If he isn’t moved, he’ll be the starter.

David Ross seem’s to be shaping out to be an excellent pick-up over the offseason as B-Mac’s backup. He has proven to be a huge upgrade from Clint Sammons.

braves10, Schafer has been credited with two assists, according to the box score of the game.

Ok cool, I wonder what kind of a deal is being worked out and with who…I like the sound of delaying his FA 1 year rather and keeping him in the minors for 12 days rather than delaying his arb clock and have to wait 6 to 8 weeks.

Thanks papilgee4evaeva, I saw that just after I posted the comment.

The three guys battling for CF are in the game…Blanco is in left, Anderson in center and Schafer is in right…each of Schafer’s throws have once again been pinpoint today…I’ve made it known for more than a week which I’m leaning and I do think most of the decision-makers are leaning in the same direction…but before giving Schafer the job, you have to let him continue proving himself, which he has…plus if you give him the job now, you lessen the odds of being able to trade Anderson…interested clubs would be more apt to wait for him to become available on waivers.

I wish Lowe much success.

Julia
http://werbiefitz.mlblogs.com/

Woah…Van Pope was just put in at 3rd never expected him to make an appearance during spring training.

So where are we in the batting order?

Yeah, you guys are going to like Ross. Playing in Cincy helped. But you have to be doing something right to hit 38 homers over the span of two seasons like he did in ’06 and ’07…He absolutely crushed that homer today and that gives him a team-leading three during the GL season.

Ross draws walks and hits homers. He’s a good player. He’s really a starting catcher I think. I’m glad we’ve got him.

Blaine Boyer is in now… this must be a new windup for him, because he did not use that motion last season. I kinda like it, but it seems uncharacteristic of him. Oh, and he just got squeezed on a free pass.

If at first you don’t succeed, do the exact same thing and hope for a different result.
______________________________________

I’m glad you’re not giving Jeff Francoeur advice, jurrjens4nlcy.

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If thats a joke I dont get it, Beside I was talking about Vasquez

Seems to be the theme today…everytime we get a hit its a homer.

LOL Freeman tripped him

It was a joke. I’ll let you figure it out.

But Frenchy doesnt think that way

Wait what Freeman tripped who?

I know. It wasn’t a sarcastic comment. I’m literally glad you’re not giving Francoeur the advice to do the same thing he did last year. He changed his approach at the plate and it seems to be working.

I dont remember who it was but he totally tumbled after running out a throw

Haha that is really funny

Who is coming up next inning?

UGH 1 out left!

Come on Jordon its Clutch time

Someone tell me what he does…I dont get the game from where I am

He got a base hit and then David Ross grounded out to end the game.

So what do you all think:

J. Anderson
J. Bennent

for

Alex Gordon

I think Alex Gordon is the Royals’ opening day 3B. They’d be more willing to move Teahan, probably. They’ve already got Coco Crisp playing CF for them so they don’t need Anderson, either. Overall, not a real trade possibility.

They STILL have coco? hmm I did not know that

They traded for him this off-season. Sent some reliever to the Red Sox.

i can’t wait til April 10 comes around!!! I got tickets to go the day they went on sale!! Excited that I’ll get to see Lowe pitch the first game I go to!!!!!!!!

jurrjens: I think if Dayton Moore even contemplated making that trade, he’d resign on the spot….Anderson and Bennett aren’t going to draw much on the trade market….Anderson might draw a project like Erik Cordier, the strong-arm right-hander who was obtained for Tony Pena…If not for Cordier’s health history, a player of his caliber wouldn’t have been dealt for a player that was heading toward being placed on waivers.

Despite the two strikeouts, Jordan had another fabulous game that was highlighted by his three throws. His offensive contributions have been impressive. But I truly believe that his defensive skills have basically put him in position to be in CF next Sunday night. Guys like him have the capability of making game-changing defensive plays on a daily basis. Even if he were to encounter the occasional rookie struggles from an offensive perspective, he could still be viewed as a definite asset.

Mark, you think it wouldn’t be a wise decision to let Schafer chill in AAA for 12 days until his free agency will be delayed a year? We’ll get another .9 years out of him for 12 days of service right now. Seems like a good decision to me.

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