Lowe has been here before

Derek Lowe seemed relieved after halting his recent woes with a win at Sun Life Stadium Monday night.  Given seven of the first 11 Marlins he faced reached safely, his six-inning effort was anything but picture perfect.  But the fact that he surrendered just two runs provided some much-needed confidence to the Braves’ 38-year-old hurler.

Six days earlier, Lowe had surrendered seven earned runs in four innings against the Nationals and fallen to 3-6 with a 6.54 over his previous 10 starts.  His troubles were magnified as both Jair Jurrjens and Tommy Hanson lost their Cy Young Award candidacy with their own might struggles since the All-Star break.

Now with Jurrjens on the disabled list and Hanson seemingly battling some kind of ailment (likely shoulder), Lowe needs to step up and justify some of his $15 million salary.  A postseason contender should not feel real good about the possibility of gaining much value from a guy who has gone 7-10 with a 4.78 ERA in his first 25 starts of the season.

Recent history shows, Lowe is not exactly in uncharted waters.  For those Braves fans who already remember how he finished each of the past three seasons, I understand why you are having a tough time determining whether this should make you feel good or more discouraged.

Through his first 25 starts last year, Lowe was 11-10 with a 4.29 ERA.   He proved mediocre in the next three outings before skipping a start to deal with right elbow discomfort.  Then out of nowhere Captain Surprise went 5-0 with a 1.17 ERA in five September starts.

The conclusion was not anywhere near as magical but last year’s dramatic turnaround conjured memories of 2004, when  Lowe was removed from the starting rotation during the season’s final week and then went 3-0 with a 1.86 ERA in four postseason appearances (three starts) for the Red Sox.   Each of his three wins that October came in series clinchers.

Like Red Sox fans four years earlier, Dodgers fans were down on Lowe when he was 9-10 with a 4.11 ERA through his first 25 starts of 2008.   Then out of nowhere, he went 5-1 with a 0.94 ERA  in his final nine starts and served as the club’s Game 1 starter in both the Division Series and League Championship Series.

Lowe’s late-season charge in 2008 helped him land his four-year, $60 million contract in Atlanta.

After going 12-7 with a 4.08 ERA in his first 25 starts with the Braves in 2009, Lowe proceeded to go 3-3 with a 6.65 ERA in his final nine starts.

So after careful analysis, it has been concluded that Lowe is only capable of finishing a season strong whenever his ERA is above 4.10 after 25 starts.

Not sure that kind of deductive reasoning is going to provide charter membership to any kind of Saber club.  But those who have watched Lowe over the years have come to realize it would be easier to get a hit off him than it would be to predict what he will do.

Uggla Watch:   Dan Uggla will attempt to extend his Major League-best hitting streak to 30 games while facing his close friend Clay Hensley and the Marlins tonight.   Uggla went hitless in his first two at-bats against Hensley on July 29 and then extended his streak with a game-winning, three-run homer in the seventh inning.

Uggla pushed the streak to 29 games with a fifth-inning infield single in Monday night’s win over the Marlins.  According to the Elias Sports Bureau, he has had eight infield hits during his hitting streak and only had six in the 86 games he had played before it began.

Odds and ends: The Braves were still thinking about skipping Tommy Hanson’s next scheduled turn Friday and having him return  with five extra days’ of rest next Tuesday.  With Thursday’s offday, each of the other rotation members would make their next start with regular rest.

Last night marked just the eighth time in 24 games since the All-Star break that a Braves starting pitcher allowed two earned runs or fewer.   Tim Hudson has accounted for four of those starts and Brandon Beachy has accounted for two.

Braves starting pitchers have gone with a 5.35 ERA since the All-Star break.  They were 39-25 with a 3.23 ERA before the break.

Veteran umpire Hunter Wendelstedt tossed both Fredi Gonzalez and Freddie Freeman during Monday night’s game.  Freeman said it was the first time he had ever been ejected from a sporting event in his life.

According to umpireejections.blogspot.com Wendelstedt’s only two previous ejections this year came July 31, when he had to toss Angels manager Mike Scioscia and Jared Weaver after Weaver threw at Tigers catcher Alex Avila.    This was part of the Buntgate madness that developed while Justin Verlander was throwing a no-hitter.



Pingback: Throw it Around 8/9 « Braves Banter

Buntgate? That was on that cake show wasn’t it?

Living in metro Detroit now, there was some serious comedy on the radio after that game.

Like in “My Big Fat Greek Wedding”. A “BUNK………A BUMP……. A BUNDT?”

Capt Moron is starting Constanza over Heyward again? Really? REALLY?

He’s the hot bat still, but I agree with you. He’s not the kind of hitter that pitchers have to worry about.
Runner, yeah. Hitter, no.

Laughable reply…”hot bat”

I don’t blame fredi for that but this whole thing with hanson is a joke. Our team trainers are clueless. First the miami trainers have to tell us Martin has staph and now the media knows TH has a problem with his shoulder before the manager and trainer. What a joke. I’m really starting to wonder about the schafer and heyward injuries as well. Somebody needs to get on board with these kids and their injuries.

Constanza has been getting hits, yeah.. but for the most past he has been incredibly lucky with bloops and bad defense. At the moment he is invaluable as a 4th outfielder, but he hasn’t hit any 430 ft bombs to center field in the past few days like another outfielder that we have. Also, Fredi taking Heyward out and moving Constanza to right in a defensive switch the other night was mind boggling.

And yeah, Bill.. don’t get me started on our training staff.

Especially when Constanza had made an error in that very inning (IIRC). But DOB posted an interview he had with JHey, and the kid seems to be handling the situation very well. Knows he needs to do work in the cage to get his swing back.

Bill, you said years ago that Hanson would develop shoulder/arm problems with his delivery. I hope you’re wrong for the sake of Hanson’s health and career, but I have a feeling you’re spot on.

It’s that hesitation that leads to the stress. I hope everything’s fine though. It would be a crime if he’s really hurt. I think he’s just gonna have to rest it though.

The issue that I have with Heyward is that he has lost his patience at the plate. Last year his OBP was near .400 and this year, .264. He is guessing and opposing pitchers know it and are using it against him. Somebody needs to sit on him and get him back to the patient hitter he was. I think all the hype got him to believing he could crush anything and now he can’t hit anything. Was glad to hear he was working with Chip, who has always been really patient at the plate.

Yeah, once he hesitates, it’s all arm. No lower body at all.
I agree about Heyward. But really, all the Braves are less patient. OBP is down 31 points compared to this time last year. So whoever sits on Heyward is gonna have to sit on everybody.

DANNY!!!!!! The power hitter gets another infield hit to continue the streak

One more and he ties Rico

Someone Splain to me. Why is Julio Lugo the 1st PH off of our bench in a tie game during a pennant race?

Saving Conrad, Hinske, and Heyward for big moments? Heck, I dunno.

I’m not sure Fredi knows Brooks can bat RH.

Choate eats up lefties (Heyward, Hinske) and I guess they want to save Brooks and don’t like his RH hitting as well as his LH hitting. But I agree, completely stupid to PH your utility infielder in that situation. Let Brooks hit.

Yeah, Papi. I know we are down as a team. That 30 points is bi, but Heyward is close to 140 points off his OBP. Obviously whatever has bitten this teams plate approach stung him really bad. I can only imagine that it’s the switch from Terry to Larry. Maybe we should look for a hitting coach named Barry? Or perhaps Moe.

I’d go with Curly myself.

Surprisingly his first 4 hit game of the year.

Oooh baby, Martin is heating up, amazing that we scored a run in this wacked ninth.

Kimbrel has just moved into the lead for Rolaids Relief. We have to wait and see what the guy from ZZTop does in CA. Listening to FL broadcast, boy, they sound like a kicked dog.

So you found out that the Rolaids Relief Award is a point system rather than a “biased” vote. I guess you do not have to make those phone calls to drum up support. By the way, how did you find out it was a point system? Who schooled you?

Im glad Heyward has been benched. Its always a toss up whether he or Gonzalez will be at the plate when we have runners on with a base scoring opp and both of them excel at hitting a bouncing grounder right at the 2B or SS. Constanza at least has been driving the ball into the outfield. Outside of the 1 HR in the last 10 plate apperances, how many times has Heyward hit the ball out of the infield? yeah, thats what I thought. Constanza at least has been doing a better job and Fredi is right for playing him over Heyward. So shut up with this “What is Fredi doing sitting Heyward?” crap.

I think most people agree with heyward being benched. He sucks at the moment. I dont know if he can turn it around. I dont undestand why they dont send him down to get his swing sorted before september though. What use is it for a 21 yr old kid to be on the bench? Send him down and get him straightened out.

Constanza has maybe “driven” THREE balls into the outfield — his three XBH. His singles have all been slaps or earned by speed.

its bad enough to see that all the stat heads all saying Fredi Gonzalez doesn’t know what he’s doing benching Heyward, but I thought you guys had some sense to see WHAT he’s doing and WHY from the evidence of the last few games, and yet all PWH Jort and some of you are crying about “Heyward can’t sit, he’s got a higher such and such percentage, Fredi doesn’t get it and he’s an idiot for benching our RF of the future for some “Georgie” come lately minor leaguer. Have you guys even been watching Heyward hit the last two months or have you always been in the bathroom when he comes to the plate? That boy needs help and he’s not getting it or helping us by coming to the plate and grounding out to 2nd or SS every at bat. Oh he had 1 HR lately. So that’s progress? Nate could hit a HR and you guys still say he’s not a good hiter. So what’s Heywards excuse?

Here is the good part about Heyward’s struggles. He is now working with the right people, not the enabler he has always had when he was physically superior to every pitcher he faced. These guys in MLB use that against even the best of them. This will (ok, probably will) also slow the “I have a hangnail” days off that Heyward has seemed to take routinely. If Chipper calls you out for that, there is something there. He has been the team expert on “ouchies” for a few years now. The Braves now have a very hungry young outfielder with superior physical skills for the stretch run. Constanza has done the Braves a great service coming up on fire like this. Heyward will be back in the lineup in a week or so unless Constanza can keep it up. And honestly, if he is going to hit near .400 the rest of the way, there are plenty of LF days available when Prado is at 3B as well.

We are also potentially 2 games from a virtually unanswerable trivia question for the Braves future fans. Go Danny Uggla!!!!

Some fans never cease to amaze me. Can’t believe some of you would rather have a struggling kid with a hole in his swing ground out to second base every time and kill rallies in hopes that he finally figures it all out, giving someone else a shot. Even worse – the player that has replaced him has hit .400 with a .409 OBP and 2 stolen bases in 11 games and people are steal griping that the rally-killer phenom isn’t in there searching for what he’s lost.
Heyward will right the ship. He has amazing talent. Sometimes talent needs to be benched. In the meantime, let the kid who has hit .400 help this team. All the stat heads clamoring for Heyward also still believe Kelly Johnson should have remained on the team and starting in LF.


Now if only the Phillies would sign him.

Wait, what? Really???
*cue Hallelujah chorus*

aw come on LAG i beat you by like 3 hours with that one😉

Maybe, but I can actually SING it. lol

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