Braves need Lowe to make another surprising rebound

When Randall Delgado began this season with Double-A Mississippi, there was obviously no reason to believe he would produce what might prove to be the most important victorious start any Braves pitchers might make this season.

Yes there might be even more important starts over the next week or during the playoffs.  But the Braves needed somebody to stop the bleeding last night and Delgado was there to deliver five scoreless innings. On the way to recording his first career victory, the 21-year-old right-hander set the tone for the evening and quite possibly the next week.

Had the Braves lost a third consecutive game Tuesday night, they would be entering tonight’s series finale against the Marlins owning just a 1 1/2-game lead over the Cardinals in the National League Wild Card race.

With Derek Lowe set to oppose Javier Vazquez tonight, there would not have been much comfort or confidence swirling around Braves Nation.  Vazquez is 4-0 with a 0.31 ERA in his past four starts and the 2.03 ERA he has constructed dating back to June 16 ranks as the fifth best mark in the Majors during this span.

This is the best Vazquez has pitched since the Braves were financially forced to trade him after the 2009 season when it became apparent that they could not find any suitors for Lowe.

“He’s pitching great right now and there’s no doubt we’ll have our hands full,” Lowe said. “I’ve played against him and with him for a long time.  You know what he’s capable of doing.   There’s probably some motivation for him to pitch well against us and make it harder for us to get to the playoffs.  Confidence will also be there because he’s had a great September.”  <p>

Lowe is coming off the worst start of what he has defined “the worst year he has ever had.”   The usually upbeat 38-year-old veteran has displayed plenty of frustration since allowing the Mets six earned runs in just 2 1/3 innings Friday.   He is 0-3 with a 10.13 ERA in three starts this month.

Lowe completed a short pen session Tuesday afternoon in attempt to gain comfort with some of the slight mechanical changes he has been attempting to make.

Obviously the Braves are not going to see Lowe make the dramatic turnaround that he did with his perfect run through September last year.  But the much maligned hurler still seemingly has the knack to deliver when he is creating the most doubt.

Six days after allowing the Nationals seven earned runs and 10 hits in just four innings on Aug. 2, Lowe limited the Marlins to two earned runs while completing six innings on the same mound he will throw off of tonight.

Lowe has allowed just two earned runs in the 12 2/3 innings he has pitched in Miami this year and he is 2-0 with a 1.47 ERA in his past three starts against the Marlins.

What?  Would you have rather looked at even more disappointing numbers that only confirm what your eyes have told you when you have watched Lowe pitch this season?

The Braves own a 2 1/2-game lead in the Wild Card race and their magic number sits at six with seven games to play.  If they win four of these seven games, the Cardinals would have to win seven of their last eight games just to force a one-game playoff to determine which team would compete in the Division Series.

When the Braves host the Phillies next week in Atlanta, it appears they will not have to deal with even a few innings of Roy Halladay or Cliff Lee.  They could oppose Kyle Kendrick or Vance Worley Monday.   During the final two games, they’ll likely face Roy Oswalt and Cole Hamels.

During last year’s regular season finale, Hamels pitched two innings against the Braves and Oswalt followed with one inning of relief.   Both will likely make abbreviated appearances again in preparation for the playoffs.

Tonight will mark the final game the Braves will ever play at what is now known as Sun Life Stadium.   It’s safe to say there will not be one tear shed when baseball says goodbye to this football stadium.

The Braves have actually enjoyed a few moments while playing in this stadium with many names.  The one that stands out occurred in 2009, when Tim Hudson made a successful return from Tommy John surgery.  Of course he had to wait through a couple hours worth of rain delays before throwing his first pitch that night.

But when Braves fans think of this place that has been called Joe Robbie Stadium, Pro Player Park, Pro Player Stadium, Dolphin Stadium, Dolphins Stadium, Land Shark Stadium and Sun Life Stadium, they will never forget Game 5 of the 1997 National League Championship Series.  That was the day when plate umpire Eric Gregg and Livan Hernandez combined for 15 strikeouts.

Like I said, members of Braves Nation will not be shedding a tear when they bid adieu to this stadium tonight.

 

 

 

25 Comments

Braves seem bound and determined to have the season ending series with the Phillies count for something.

If recent play is any indication… I’d rather play the phillies

Crap and now we have to listen to the pain some more.

I’m glad I cut off my MLB.com subscription. I really don’t want to watch this. It’s like watching a guy jump off a bldg. You know whats gonna happen, but you can’t avert your eyes.

Real fans stick by the team through thick and thin. In the UK, you would be called a “plastic” fan.

Shut up dipshit. No one wants to hear what you say.

Yup. It’s an unavoidable train wreck and we are all willing passengers.

Marks headline today should read: Braves reach season Lowe.

Or after that offensive showing last night, maybe, “Braves Hang Lowe”

Bottom line, though, Lowe went 6 1/3, let up 3. If our offense can get anything together, that should be enough. I’m gonna get crap for suggesting this, but put Heyward in the 2 spot. He has the best OBP on the team over the last week, even the last month. He also scored 5 runs this past week, more than anybody else. Something needs to change anyway, because last nights performance was pathetic.

No way we are going to make the playoffs. Should of traded JJ and tommy mid season. I was right. This is going to hurt the braves for years to come.

Even a stopped clock is right twice a day. The monkey, never right.

you’re a douche. I’m not insulting you because your opinion differs than mine, I’m insulting you because you’re a douche.

No Zippy you are still WRONG. Injuries are a part of the game over which we have no control. Your way of thinking is that we should trade before they get hurt. Glad you can see into the future. The pitching of the rookies has been very good when compared to the like of Kyle Davies, JoJo Reyes and others. The biggest problem is the same one we have had all season. We are terrible with RISP.

I forgot my troll away spray. Anyone else have some?

Way to go Mets. Now, please hang on.

Cards lost. Thank you Furcal and Willie Harris

Ironically, former Braves. Maybe they feel they owe us something.

Simple math – if we go 3 – 3 they have to go 5 – 1 to tie.

But if we go 1-5 ……

“Real fans stick by the team through thick and thin.”
“No way we are going to make the playoffs.”
Can these two sentences have been uttered by the same person literally a minute apart from each other? Unbelievable. How could anyone take this guy seriously.
On a related note, I’ll get back to you in a week and we’ll see if your prediction holds true. NO WAY we’ll make the playoffs, he says. Laughing out loud right now.

If we go 2 and 4, and St. Louis runs the table 6-0 we still have a one game play in. We have been seriously taking on water, but I’d rather be up 2 than down 2.

Check out this ray of sunshine for 2012. A possible pitching staff of
SP:
Hudson, Hanson, Jurrjens, Beachy, Minor, Teheran, Delgado (rotating the 4 youngs ones with AAA as needed)
BP:
Kimbrell, Venters, EOF, Medlen, Moylan, Viscaino, Martinez

The stable of 25 and under arms is almost unprecendented.

Actually, if we go 2 and 4 we’ll finish with 90 wins and if they go 6-0 they’ll finish with 92 wins. I think you meant if we go 4 and 2.

I agree completely, though, that the future of pitching is bright. The present has the potential to look pretty good too – I’m glad Huddy is going tonight.

As poorly as Lowe is pitching, They keep starting him. He’s done. Freddy waits too long to remove a pitcher that can’t throw strikes. Parrish hasn’t helped a single hitter out of their slump.Time for major changes, starting with Freddie and Parrish ! Getting rid of L:owe!

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