Derek Lowe is going for his third straight win on Opening Day Thursday when the Braves start the season in Washington against the Nationals. But it hasn’t always been quite that easy for the 37-year-old right-hander.
Lowe actually lost three consecutive Opening Day starts as a Dodger with an 8.44 ERA. And last year he benefitted from a 16-run onslaught by the Braves over the Cubs on a day he gave up five runs in six innings.
The eight shutout innings he pitched against the Phillies on Opening Day 2009 are actually the anomaly, Lowe said. He’s 2-3 with a 6.00 ERA in six Opening Day starts overall.
“I feel like I’ve really tried probably too hard,” said Lowe, who’s been better known for what he does come October. “In your first game, everybody feels strong, so you may go a little bit too fast. Whereas the playoffs, you pretty much have thrown 200 innings; your delivery is a lot smoother.”
Lowe said he brings a different confidence into this Opening Day start than his first two as a Brave, after finishing last season on a high. He went 5-0 with a 1.17 ERA in five September starts.
“Confidence-wise this is as good as I’ve felt going into Opening Day in a long time,” Lowe said. “Hopefully that will translate into a little bit more success.”