Results tagged ‘ Derek Lowe ’

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 

Did you really want Peavy?

Instead of bashing Jake Peavy when he comes to Turner Field this year, Braves fans might want to thank him for the fact that he had no desire to pitch in Atlanta. 

While watching Puerto Rico’s 11-1 win over the U.S. Dolphin Stadium last night, I started to draw comparisons between Peavy and Dolphins quarterback Chad Pennington.  But I eventually concluded that  Pennington hadn’t got hit nearly as hard by Ray Lewis and the rest of the Ravens defense during this year’s playoffs. 

Had the Braves acquired Peavy via trade, they would have paid him at least $63 million over the next four seasons.   When you’re dishing out that kind of coin, you’d at least like to have some confidence that he’ll be answer the bell when you need him in big games.

While the sample size is small it’s still somewhat alarming to know that Peavy is 0-3 with a 9.53 ERA (22 2/3 innings, 24 earned runs)  in the six combined career starts he’s made during the postseason and the World Baseball Classic.

Instead of Peavy, the Braves ended up with Derek Lowe, who is 6-5 with a 3.33 ERA in 21 career postseason appearances (10 starts).   Over the course of eight days in 2004, Lowe won a Game 7 start at Yankee Stadium and tossed seven scorless innings to allow the Red Sox to clinch their first World Series in 86 years. 

When Lowe takes the mound at Disney this afternoon, he’s not going to be feeding off his “big-game” adrenaline.  But the Astros, who are 1-13-1, might look at this afternoon’s game a little different.  Frustrated by his team’s struggles, manager Cecil Cooper required every position player make the short trip across Osceola Parkway. 

After Lowe exits today’s game, Peter Moylan will continue his Sunday afternoon tradition of making a Grapefruit League appearance.   His only two previous appearances this year have occurred on Sundays. 

Before this development, the only thing linking the tatooed Australian to the NFL was the fact that his arms are as decorative as Kyle Turley’s.  

You probably best remember Turley as the Saints offensive lineup who imitated Moylan’s sidearm delivery while tossing a Jets helmet across the field during a nationally-televised game.

While pitching against the Phillies last week, Moylan looked tremendous and gave more reason to believe he might indeed be ready by Opening Day.  But the Braves will remain cautious with the right-handed reliever, who is just a little more than 10 months removed from Tommy John surgery. 

Rafael Soriano is also scheduled to make his second Grapefruit League appearance this afternoon. 

Other than finding out where Dayton will be bracketed in the NCAA tournament, I’d have to say the appearances made by Moylan and Soriano will be the most important developments of the day.

The Braves are expected to announce their next round of cuts later today or on Monday.  James Parr, who impressed with four strikeouts in 2 1/3 scoreless innings against the Marlins on Friday, has already been informed that he’s heading to Minor League camp.

“I did everything that I could do,” said a distraught Parr, who allowed one run in 7 1/3 Grapefruit League innings. 

With a little more than two weeks left before the start of the regular season, the Braves may attempt to take advantage of their pitching depth via trade.  While he might not net a return greater than a mid-level Minor League prospect, Buddy Carlyle has been receiving some attention from clubs looking to improve their bullpen. 

Anderson update:  Garret Anderson hasn’t started running yet.  But the veteran outfielder, who has been sidelined since March 6, continues to be encouraged about the improvement of his strained right calf.   It’s starting to look like he could be available for the final two weeks of the exhibition season.

Today’s lineup:
Jordan Schafer CF
Yunel Escobar SS
Kelly Johnson 2B
Matt Diaz LF
Jeff Francoeur RF
Freddie Freeman 1B
Martin Pradro 3B
David Ross C
Derek Lowe P   

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   

Lowe has game

Jeff Francoeur would obviously love to avoid an arbitration hearing. But before going to play tennis with his wife Friday night, the young outfielder’s greatest concerns actually centered around what he’d just seen Derek Lowe do on the golf course. 

“When Smoltzie left, I thought for sure, I’d be the best golfer on the team,” Francoeur said. “But I’m not sure that’s going to be the case. Derek Lowe is good.” 

A Braves All-Star catcher who wished to remain anonymous went one step further by saying, “Derek Lowe is the best golfer I’ve ever seen.  But don’t write that because it will make Smoltzie mad.”

While looking for new courses in the Ft. Myers area, Smoltz is probably too busy to read about what his newly-slender,  unnamed former batterymate is saying  But he wasn’t too busy to respond to this this Lowe-hype with a text message that simply read, “Whatever”. 

Now that he has wind of Lowe’s golf skills, Smoltz’s competitive spirit will probably lead him to travel to the Orlando area on a day when he can test his golf game against the new Braves ace.

“Lowe is pretty consistent,” Francoeur said. “He’s always going to be in the low 70s.  But Smoltz can go lower.  If they played 10 times, Lowe would probably win three or four times.”

Two days in Florida and already I have two blogs that include stories about what the boys are doing on the golf course.  Tomorrow’s entry will detail the game of “arbitration chicken” being played by Francoeur and the Braves. 

Actually there really isn’t anything new to report on the Francoeur arbitration front.  It still appears that a hearing is inevitable and I’m not sure this is good for either side.

Francoeur has arrived in camp with an enhanced sense of confidence that could certainly be destroyed when he has to listen to the full-scale attack the Braves plan to utilize in the arbitration hearing.

While saving some money, the Braves will also be creating the possibility that Francoeur’s confidence will be shaken to the point that he’s unable to avoid a repeat of last year’s struggles. 

Let’s just hope there is a resolution before next Friday’s scheduled hearing. But with that being said, I don’t see this happening. 

— Mark Bowman

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