Lowe: “Wasn’t the sharpest game, no doubt about it.”

PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. – Derek Lowe planned for a nice tune-up start Saturday, but instead the Braves pitcher got knocked around by Mets hitters and undermined by his own defense.

The Braves made five errors and Lowe was charged with seven hits and six runs (four earned) in an 8-2 road loss against the New York Mets. It was Lowe’s final spring game before his opening-day start March 31 at Washington.

“It’s hard to gear up, but on the other hand you don’t want to go out there and be a human batting-practice machine, either, like I was at times [Saturday],” Lowe said. “I’m happy we’re done. It wasn’t the sharpest game, no doubt about it. It really wasn’t very good, that’s what it boils down to.

“But the second you’re done you’ve already forgotten about it and can’t wait to start [the regular season].”

Lowe gave up four hits and three runs in the first inning, one unearned after two errors by rookie right fielder/roster hopeful Wilkin Ramirez. The Mets also scored three runs in the third inning, two unearned after a two-out error by third baseman Brooks Conrad.

“The good thing is, there were still some ground balls,” Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez said of his veteran sinkerballer’s performance. “We weren’t real pretty behind him, either.”

After allowing only eight hits and one run in 14 innings over his first four starts, Lowe has surrendered 14 hits and nine runs (seven earned) in 9-1/3 innings over his past two.

“All in all, I’m happy with the way the spring went,” said Lowe, who makes his third consecutive Braves opening-day start. “It was as I hoped it would be, taking today out of the equation.

“You’re confident with stuff going into the season, which I think is most important. You don’t have to go into the season worrying about tinkering with this or that. You’re confident with where you are.”

He didn’t throw breaking balls to a couple of good Mets hitters whom he’ll throw almost exclusively breaking balls against during the regular season, but other than that he went about pitching as he would in any start.

Lowe said the poor defense didn’t cause him to struggle, that he just didn’t pitch well. In four innings, he issued two leadoff walks. He also allowed a well-hit, two-out RBI single by Mets pitcher Mike Pelfrey in the third inning.

“Sometimes you just admit you weren’t very good,” said Lowe, 2-2 with a 3.09 ERA in six spring starts.“Today was one of those times. Not going to sugarcoat it.

”I wasn’t going to leave today overly cheery if I pitched good or sad if I pitched bad.”

He did point out one difference between his next start and the one he made Saturday.

“Hopefully we won’t have to bus two hours to the game in Washington,” he said.

Port St. Lucie is a two-hour bus ride from the Braves’ spring home outside Orlando.

29 comments Add your comment

Wooderson

March 26th, 2011
5:36 pm

Lowe getting suckier as the season approaches… sounds about right. Hopefully he will show up before september this time around. Everyone knows his fat paycheck is the only reason he is the opening day starter. Kawakami would’ve won 13 games with Lowe’s run support. What a joke. Pick it up Derek.

Wooderson

March 26th, 2011
5:37 pm

oh… and first

Bill

March 26th, 2011
5:59 pm

Conrad still make errors I see

Hmm

March 26th, 2011
6:12 pm

I’m sure little billy has never made an error in all of his years in the big leagues. Right Bill?

NorCal Brave

March 26th, 2011
6:12 pm

What’s the over/under on how many games Conrad’s defense and Sherrill’s pitching will cost us this year? There have to be two better choices to fill these roster spots.

extremus

March 26th, 2011
6:24 pm

I realize that probably NO team ever leaves camp without question marks or players than are obviously struggling, but it’ll be interesting to see if Freddi Gonzalez has the same patience with leaving liabilities in the batting order, in the field, and on the mound that Bobby Cox had. If Cox had one thing players loved him for, it was that he was so loyal to them and gave them EVERY chance imaginable, often to the dismay and even angerment of fans; on the flipside, it worked to the detriment of the team a large number of times. Gonzalez is reputed to be a player’s manager as well, but somehow I doubt he’ll indefinitely keep throwing a .190 hitter out there every single day or a pitcher who repeatedly is responsible for allowing big innings and losses, should such things happen during the season (let’s hope not, but I’m being realistic). If it truly is about the benefit of the TEAM over player/manager relations, Gonzalez will be willing and able to make the hard choices when necessary.

deezcoons

March 26th, 2011
6:31 pm

how long before conrad costs the braves with his poor defensive ability. He had a nice year last year but he is what he is- a 4a ballplayer

Ralph

March 26th, 2011
6:32 pm

I can see it now, Conral, Mather, Prior and Shrerril all on the roster and it will take half the season and many losses before Wren gets rid of them if at all.

tooslim73

March 26th, 2011
6:33 pm

Wooderson…

You beat yourself on the Failed-Firstie. I’ve never seen anyone beat themselves before and I’m talking about the internet here.

Thanks for the laugh.

Brooks Conrad

March 26th, 2011
6:35 pm

If people would just stop hitting those baseballs at me everything would be ok!

austin

March 26th, 2011
7:09 pm

brooks will be a PH and probably wont play much in the field this year, he only played the field last year because both jones and prado were injured..its not that big of deal, hes not a starter or defensive substitution.. hes the guy coming up in the bottom of the ninth.. not the guy whos gonna get 5-6 putout attempts a game

Ralph

March 26th, 2011
7:20 pm

He is the guy who is going to come off the bench and hit .200

austin

March 26th, 2011
7:32 pm

Ralph why do you assume he can’t get decent numbers?

austin

March 26th, 2011
7:33 pm

I man last years amazing numbers are probably unrealistic to replicate, but I dont think a 250/7/35 is out of reach, which is better than most bench players, or any of our in house options

uga vii

March 26th, 2011
7:50 pm

I THINK ALL YOU NEGATIVE IDIOTS ABOUT CONRAD SHERRILL AND ANYONE ELSE YOU HAVE TALKED ABOUT ARE IOT MORONS AND GO ROOT FOR SOMEONE ELSE IF YOU DON’T LIKE THE BRAVES YOU ALL SUCK!!!!!!!!!!

uga vii

March 26th, 2011
7:50 pm

YOU ARE IDIOTS

Bro

March 26th, 2011
8:06 pm

I guess the two hour bus ride really did the Braves in. The would really have a hard time if they were treated to bus rides like the real baseball players take. Real players-high school, small college and minor leagues. Spoiled brats are just spoiled brats. These p— ants would never make it like the real men who are fighting overseas. You guys are all soft and over paid.

thecoxman

March 26th, 2011
8:29 pm

the best team will lose 1/3 of their games. the worst team will win 1/3 of their games. how F G manages in the other 1/3 will decide where the braves end up.

Ron Jon

March 26th, 2011
8:29 pm

Conrad is a bum in the field. I do not want to see him play the field at all this year.

NorCal Brave

March 26th, 2011
8:51 pm

Hey gang, read David’s side piece here about Ed Lucas and Brandon Hicks and then tell me why both shouldn’t make the final cut over Conrad, who’s defensive deficiency could cost us dearly. So what if he’s primarily a pinch hitter? We need all-around players who can fill in for injured starters and give us extra inning versatility. Which brings me to Sherrill. This guy shows no indication that he’s over his 2010 Dodger “slump.” Give his spot to someone else. And keep Matt Young over Joe Mather too.

big o

March 26th, 2011
9:27 pm

At first I thought the Mather deal was a good move because of his versatility but he cant hit. We have to face it yall with the exception on hinske and Ross our bench sucks !!! I cant understand this attraction to Mather where he has to make the team because he is out of options. I say cut him and trade Conrad if anyone would take him because as i said on the other blog his first error at the Ted or at Gwinett will bring a chorus of Boos

Brava

March 26th, 2011
9:39 pm

Only idiots post in all caps. Just sayin’.

BravesWin

March 26th, 2011
9:52 pm

Lowe looks like Lowe always has to me — a sinking fastball-type pitcher whose fastball doesn’t sink anymore…instead, it hangs at belt level like a rope.
Conrad will be okay with playing time, something he’s had precious little time with over the past couple of Cox years.

Ralph

March 26th, 2011
10:09 pm

“NotCal Brave” uga vii just called you and I an idiot, I wonder where he got his baseball degree?

[...] Atlanta Braves [...]

Brave New World

March 27th, 2011
11:27 am

I’m not worried about Lowe – the guy is a proven winner. Lowe will win between 15-18 games for the Braves in 2011, and will pitch well throughout the playoffs. Conrad is a different story; I’m not sure Conrad hasn’t developed confidence issues in the field – he wouldn’t be the first.

bvillebaron

March 27th, 2011
12:12 pm

BravesWin:

Apparently Lowe’s sinker was sinking last September and into the playoffs or didn’t you notice?

Howard

March 27th, 2011
4:10 pm

I will puke if I hear another well compensated pro MLBer coplaining about a -hour bus ride. For what they’re paid, I’d ride on the hood of the danged thing anywhere and anytime. Oh, and want to know the 2 greatest jobs in MLB?? Bullpen coach and bullpen catcher…those guys have it made so big time, it’s not funny. The bullpen coach answers the phone from the dugout and tells someone to get loose and then tells the bullpen catcher to get up and play catch with the guy!! How hard can that be???

Quicherbichin

March 27th, 2011
4:42 pm

Well Ralph, only one of those guys was actually at Braves spring training and he didn’t make the roster… I don’t know who Conral, Prior or Shrerill are. @ NorCal Brave Brooks’ bat will win more than his glove loses. He is a cluch bat. He won’t be playing the field much. As few ABs as Brooks will get, it’s a fine line between a .200 BA and a .300 one. Brandon Hicks will play a fine defense. He apparently still needs to be introduced to a baseball bat and taught how to use one. Either that or convert him to a pitcher since he hits as well as one anyway. And by the way.. is Lucas your brother in law or something? Get real!

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