Lowe has a chance to surprise yet again

With a one-game lead over the Cardinals in the National League Wild Card race with two games to play, Braves fans seem a little uneasy about the fact that Derek Lowe is going to the mound to oppose Roy Oswalt and the Phillies tonight at The Ted.

How do you think Red Sox fans felt on Oct. 20, 2004, when Lowe was preparing to oppose Kevin Brown and the Yankees in Game 7 of the American League Championship Series  at old Yankee Stadium?

Yeah, it’s been seven years since Lowe limited the Yankees to one run over six innings that night to complete the Red Sox historic comeback in that memorable ALCS.  And yes, at 38-years-old Lowe should not be expected to do the things he did at the age of 31.   <p>

But are you really going to be that surprised if Lowe comes out and produces one of his finest starts of the season tonight?  Hasn’t he already proven that he is at his best when he has given fans every reason to doubt him?   This proved to be the case with the Red Sox in 2004 and the Braves just last year.

OK, you’re right, there was not a need to once again attempt to create optimism by pointing out how Lowe has turned things around at the most unexpected times in the past.   You’ve heard enough about this and right now the only thing you should care about are the results that Lowe has not provided throughout most of this season.

Lowe has gone 4-10 with a 5.92 ERA in his past 14 starts and instead of getting better as the end of regular season neared he regressed.  The veteran hurler has gone 0-4 with an 8.24 ERA in four starts this month.

If these numbers have not provided enough discouragement, Lowe has allowed 18 hits and nine earned runs in his past 11 innings against the Phillies.   Makes it hard to believe he held this team hitless through six innings of his victorious May 6 start in Philadelphia.

But it’s not as if the Phillies have given Lowe fits over the past few years.   He is 4-6 with a 3.67 ERA in the 11 starts he has made against Philadelphia while pitching for the Braves.    He has also allowed two runs or fewer in seven of those 11 starts.

So it’s not as if Lowe will enter tonight’s start without some sense of confidence against Utley, Howard and Co.

The Braves could have even more reason to be concerned about an offense that has scored two runs or fewer in four of the past five games.

Fortunately for the Braves, Chipper Jones is back in the lineup tonight.  The veteran third baseman sent a text message this morning confirming he was going to undergo an MRI exam to determine the extent of damage in the sore right knee that he aggravated during Monday night’s loss.

Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez has put Brian McCann back in the sixth spot of the lineup for tonight’s matchup against Oswalt.   As McCann continues to say that he is healthy, his numbers tell another story.

After missing three weeks with a strained left oblique muscle, McCann returned on Aug. 14 confident that he was ready to resume his role as a force in the middle of the Braves lineup.  But his production has been essentially limited to a pair of two-homer games.   The .168 batting average he has produced dating back to Aug. 14 ranks as the lowest mark produced by any qualified Major League player.

The Braves enter tonight’s game against the Phillies with their magic number to clinch at two.    With help from the Astros, Cubs and Mets, that magic number has been reduced from six to two during a five-day span that has included just one Atlanta win.

If the Braves win tonight and the Cardinals lose a second straight game to the Astros, Atlanta will have clinched the NL Wild Card for a second straight season.

If the Wild Card is not clinched tonight, the Braves will have to send Tim Hudson to the mound for Wednesday’s regular season finale.  This would mean he would be unavailable for Game 1 of the NLDS.   He would be on short rest if asked to pitch what would be Game 2 of the NLDS.

 

 

 

 

28 Comments

Yes, that was 7 (seven) years ago. He was 31 then. He is 38 now. Look, Lowe might go out and give the exact same performance tonight – but it won’t do any good if the Braves can’t score him any runs. This is on the offense – plain and simple.

I wouldnt by any means put it solely on the offense. Our pitching staffover the last 2 months is obviously exhauseted. We most likely lead the league in hits given up with 2 strikes. Of course that’s just an assumption cuz I don’t care to look up the stats. But our guys get 2 quick strikes very often then lose their aggresiveness. Its half the reason our starters don’t go very deep into games most days. Once the hitter gets to see so many pitches cuz we aren’t getting after them then its ether

*either make a perfect pitch for the out, give up a hit, or a walk. It happens all too often with our guys. There is a time to out smart the hitter, and there is a time to just straight up go after em and show em they can’t hit you. Only when the hitter is being aggressive is out smarting them really the answer, otherwise go after them.

I have to really question at this point the desire of some to win this thing. There is no reason why B Mac wasn’t standing on second base when that play ended. The ball was in the air for a while then kicked away towards the wall and he is standing on 1st base. Hard for me to believe he was all out there, and they all have to be all out – especially the leaders on the team.

Any reason why Lowe is out there today? I would much rather see Tehran go out there and give it a shot.

Chipper, I dont know why you are out there. You are not healthy and you are killing the team – dont know how you hit that HR. McCann – same thing.

Down 4-0 and still watching, but it aint easy. Maybe Wilson can drive in Mac with a long single.

Chipper isn’t exactly killing us….He’s batting .280, and in the unreal world of Braves hitting, that’s not that bad. “Killing us” could easily be attributed to other guys in the lineup.

Come on Mark Bowman.. Really?More like a miracle than a surprise with Lowe

and Pence cranks one deep… 6-0

Derek Lowe since All Star Break. 4-9 5.91 ERA and OBA is .316. Hell you couldn’t be starting for the Astros with those numbers. We have taken what was once a reasonable dedication to seasoned performers and turned it in the clown car at the circus.If Fredo and Wren are running this club next spring I think I’ll watch something else. These guys are killing me. Nothing they could do at this point could warrant me trusting them with my team.

I hope Lowe has his suitcases packed….We might as well leave him off of the playoff roster is by some means of grace we actually limp into October. This is pathetic. At least we have seen what Delgado can do. That’s about the only thing we can take from the last month…

Why even bother checking the Braves score… at this point I just hope the Cards gift this to us so I can enjoy baseball a bit longer. I’m certainly not expecting to win anything… but I’m prepared to go down with the ship!

Sidenote… a 7 run rally to come back here would really put the Braves in good mental shape for the playoffs… not expecting it… just dreamin i guess.

Dreaming is ok i suppose, its about all we have….at least Houston is trying to help us out.

I would enjoy just a few runs at this point to prove that we can hit.

Lowe deserves all the negative comments, but does it really matter if he gives up 12 runs a game if our pathetic excuse of an offense can’t score runs? Derek Lowe was Derek Lowe tonight. No surprise there. It’s the atrocious approach to hitting and irresponsible baseball mistakes that has been this teams downfall.

Not even sure I’d like to see our team in the playoffs. Would probably be 3 and out anyways

3 hits…..really?

It like watching a bad hanging. The guy doesn’t go thru the trap door just sits there and flops around forever.

Well, this is it. Our stars need to be stars today or this doesn’t happen. Hudson needs to go at LEAST six strong before leaving it to the EOF, Venters and CK we knew back in July/August, and Mac and Chip need to produce.

If we can’t win with Huddy matched up against Joe Blanton we don’t deserve to be in the playoffs.

One thing that worries me is Pujols. He has 98 RBI and is hitting .300. He’s had 100 RBI and a .300 average every year of his career, and you know he wants to maintain that streak tonight. I never thought we’d be cheering for Brett Myers on a night we’re playing the Phillies, but there it is.

In short, go Astros!

Paging Dr. Heimlich…… Paging Dr. Heimlich ……. Code BLUE at Turner Field.

I have this weird feeling we’re gonna be seeing a game 163…

Plenty of seats still available for tonight’s game. No booing, now.

We know our team is shit right now. The question is do you know that your team would be even more “shit” if they worked within the same budget our owners gave us. Go hump the phanatic or something. Seems like something you would do IMO. By the way it takes a lot of class and high moral standing to kick someone when they are down…..

On a side note, anyone hear if that boy that took the foul ball to the face in last nights game is ok? That was a pretty bad looking hit, right to the eye, temple area.

Bill he has been hanging for two years. Have FW cut the rope

Not blaming phan52. We deserve whatever we get. This has been the classic CHOKE. Some players need to man up and reverse the trend. We are not this bad.

I have watched every Braves game this season. Yes they are that bad. The lack of offense has literally worn down the pitching staff, starters and bullpen. This season has the poorest hitting lineup top to bottom that I’ve seen in years. Two or three of the guys have decent numbers, but when they get on base they are usually left there. The guys are good at talking about what they need to do, but when they step into the box they look like they are trying to hit a golf ball with a fly swatter. However, the biggest problem has been the absence of Bobby Cox. Fredi is a good young manager in the impossible position of trying to pickup where Bobby left off. At this point he cannot and does not have the impact
on each individual player that Bobby had. When Bobby spoke they knew they had better listen.
In other words, with Bobby this sluggish offense would never have reached the point it is at right now.
That isn’t a slam on Fredi, just the fact that Bobby Cox was in command and demanded 100% effort from his players. Fredi is the boss, but his command and demand does not carry the weight that Bobby Cox had on the team. The guys are not producing because the effort has been inconsistent with too many guys leaving it to the other guys to come thru, to get the job done. That isn’t Bobby Cox baseball.
I’m sure that it isn’t Fredi ball either, but at this point he hasn’t had the team long enough to have the kind of command that produces the best results. They might pull it out tonight. I hope so. If not, Fredi has surely learned a lot about his team for next season.

Oh, you are in the dugout and know what the players think about Fredi?

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