McCann’s homer helps Braves overcome Florida and Lowe

Brian McCann capped a six-run Braves' rally against Florida with a ninth-inning home run . . .

Brian McCann capped a rally with a ninth-inning homer ...

To a Braves’ season long-since devoid of any logic or certainly a blueprint, we add this from Sunday:

♦ Starting pitcher Derek Lowe getting mangled for five runs in the three innings but somehow escaping a loss, even if possibly confirming his postseason fate as a $60 million long reliever.

♦ A team, down 6-1 and held to three hits in the first seven innings,  rallying for three runs in the eighth (two coming when Florida’s first baseman dropped a throw for the would-be third out of

but Derek Lowe may have pitched his way out of a postseason start.

... but Derek Lowe struggled and could be in bullpen in playoffs.

the inning) and three in the ninth (an opposite field, game-tying, two-run homer by pinch hitter Matt Diaz, and a walk-off winner by Brian McCann that few were certain of when seen live).

♦ McCann’s homer? It originally was called a double but changed to a homer after umpires consulted video replay and  saw the ball bounce off the right-field wall, just above the yellow line. It’s the first time in major league history a game ended on a replay. Of course.

McCann waited at second base for over a minute, an atypical rest stop for a home run. After the ruling, he rounded the bases, spiked his helmet about six feet from home plate and finished his trot home.

“I didn’t know what to do,” he said. “I got lost in the moment.”

The Braves aren’t so much on a road to the postseason as they are floating in a lifeboat in swirling winds, but seemingly drifting in that direction. The 7-6 win over Florida – and there is improbable video evidence to confirm it – was their 23rd win of the season in their final at-bat.

“It wasn’t looking good for a long time, [given] the spot I put the team in,” Lowe said. “I dug quite a hole.”

As it turns out, he probably only buried only himself.

If the Braves make the playoffs for the first time since 2005, manager Bobby Cox has a decision to make. It’s now an easy decision. His three starting pitchers in a five-game divisional series seemingly are obvious: Tim Hudson and two other guys not named Derek Lowe (Jair Jurrjens and Tommy Hanson).

Lowe needed to make a statement Sunday about his postseason worthiness. He did. It was just the wrong statement.

It took him 23 pitches to record an out. That came after a walk, a single, a three-run homer by Hanley Ramirez that left vapor trails and a double by Dan Uggla that left a dent in the left field wall.

Lowe allowed five runs in three innings before being pulled. It was his shortest outing of the season. His 78 pitches played out like an afternoon of root canal.

His ERA in his last eight starts: 4.91. After a stretch in which he had eight “quality starts” — three runs or fewer in six or more innings – in 11 outings, Lowe has only three quality starts in his last 10. Recent problems by Jurrjens and Hanson notwithstanding, it’s really not close who’s No. 4 in the pecking order.

Lowe said he had problems “gripping” the ball. Throwing wasn’t so great either.

Cox: “He just couldn’t locate.”

Lowe denied he was injured but he was seen shaking his right hand as he left the mound in the third.

Quote: “Nothing [wrong]. I didn’t have very good command. … No pain. Just bad pitching.”

Then he cracked: “Go with cramps” [as an excuse].

As for the future, Lowe didn’t concede his potential bullpen role in the postseason but he hardly debated the possibility.

“Time will tell as far as the guys we use and where they pitch,” he said. “In a perfect world, you pitch Hudson as many times as you can.”

And then this: “I don’t feel like I need to prove anything. I didn’t feel like I was here to audition. When you have a good rotation, somebody is going to be left out. But I’m pretty proud of my postseason history, even though it’s been a couple of years. But we’ll see.”

Nothing seemingly can disrupt the Braves’ mojo. But if the Braves make it to the playoffs, Lowe’s view may be from the bullpen.

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101 comments Add your comment

JC

August 29th, 2010
7:05 pm

Great comeback!!

Peter

August 29th, 2010
7:12 pm

WALKOFF WARRIORS!!!

POAD

August 29th, 2010
7:12 pm

I guess the braves need to wear the Red Uniform more. I hate the Red but the Braves do win in it.

Smitty

August 29th, 2010
7:13 pm

Yes on Hudson and Jurjens but why not Minor instead of Hanson who has not looked good in a few weeks, more like Lowe

"Chef" Tim Dix

August 29th, 2010
7:14 pm

Proud to be 2nd!

"Chef" Tim Dix

August 29th, 2010
7:15 pm

or……….later.

Jesse Stone

August 29th, 2010
7:15 pm

Can’t we come up with an injury to place him on the 60-day DL? Strained follicles? Anything?

"Chef" Tim Dix

August 29th, 2010
7:15 pm

KK is keeping Lowes seat warm.

Matt

August 29th, 2010
7:16 pm

D-Lowe is DE-Luded. Yes, you DO need to prove something, you need to show that you can be an effective pitcher down the stretch, because up until now you’ve been horrendous.

jimmymack

August 29th, 2010
7:16 pm

destiny bobby’s last year and a no name club

Mr C.

August 29th, 2010
7:17 pm

Have to make the playoffs first before u start talking about which pitchers should start in a 5 game series. The Braves won’t make the playoffs if they continue their woeful road record!!!

Barkin'Dog

August 29th, 2010
7:17 pm

I’d go with Minor, too.

mclOUTh

August 29th, 2010
7:18 pm

Based on recent outings I would feel better about Minor than Hansen……but I would be nervous with a rookie as well. SOMEBODY has got to step up and soon.

John L Omar-229

August 29th, 2010
7:18 pm

When we make the playoffs,pitch any pitcher not a Boor- Azz client.

scottc

August 29th, 2010
7:20 pm

Minor has been brilliant. Tommy def needs to figure it out.

mountain_jim

August 29th, 2010
7:22 pm

With how erratic Hanson has been of late, why not consider having Minor be the 3rd starter in potential playoffs? At least as of now, he’s sharper than Hanson.

brian blackshaw

August 29th, 2010
7:23 pm

D(very)Lowe says he has nothing to prove…that’s because he has a 4 year iron clad contract!!
If his contract was up at the end of this year it would be different!!
Plus….look at his behavior in LA.

Good riddance if we could!!

mountain_jim

August 29th, 2010
7:24 pm

While I was reading and posting, I see alot more folks think Minor ought to be in the conversation as well. :)

THE CURSE OF DAVID JUSTICE LIVES IN THE ATL

August 29th, 2010
7:28 pm

OK WE NEED EVERYONE CLICKING NOW,THE FEELIES AINT GOING AWAY!

Long-suffering Fan

August 29th, 2010
7:33 pm

Hey, we got a whole three innings out of Lowe! Am I the only one who believes opposing hitters start salivating like Pablov’s dog when they see his name on a lineup? This guy needs to be buried deep in the tunnel when the Braves play. Bring him on in relief only when we’re behind 15-0. Lowe has to be the worst signing mistake in Braves history. And because of his humongous salary, the Braves can’t afford to trade for and sign good players.

Gene

August 29th, 2010
7:34 pm

When Hanson and Lowe are pitching I feel the same way I felt when Glaus came up to bat with two ducks on the pond and one out.

Nora

August 29th, 2010
7:41 pm

Was that really the first time an MLB game ended with an overturned call on an instant replay review? Sweet!

The Braves, they...

August 29th, 2010
7:41 pm

What a win!!! What a team!

booquinn

August 29th, 2010
7:42 pm

Nice work Jeff, Lowe is coasting, he either needs to “cowboy up” and get it done or be left off of the postseason roster. We need to suck it up and waive him if this continues, there are too many youngsters in the minors that deserve a shot and I am not sure I can watch much more of him falling off the mound to the left creating “meat” to hitters to feast on.

Let's Go

August 29th, 2010
7:52 pm

Since Minor has had only 2 starts I think it’s a little early to start penciling him in for game 3 of a playoff series but you never know. If it came down between Hanson or Lowe I would probably go with Lowe since Hanson’s problems are starting to look like they may be between his ears.

Ueeediot

August 29th, 2010
7:58 pm

One thing you do have to do is set a post-season roster by close of business on Tuesday.
Its got to be that D Hernandez gets sent down and Glaus is on the PSR. Need that DH bat in the AL Parks and after the 6th inning PH that Glaus brings to the table. Does Farnsworth make the PSR? I dont see why. I think I would much rather have Kimbrel or even McLouth to add some late inning PR/defense. McLouth was solid on the bases and in the field. I cant see any reason to have KK there either.
Sept will be interesting. We have to, er, must beat up on the division. 32 games left for both teams.

Ueeediot

August 29th, 2010
8:00 pm

Sweep the Mets

Herschel Talker

August 29th, 2010
8:03 pm

Schultzie:

Sorry to be a bit of a downer here, but while these wins are exciting and fun, I fear it’s not going to work in the postseason. We just can’t sit back and let teams continue to put us in a hole and expect long-term success. Does this trend worry you? And for the love of God, enough of Derek Lowe. He is terrible.

HT

NRBQ

August 29th, 2010
8:06 pm

Wonder if Bobby noticed from his spot in the tunnel that Diaz homered off a rightie.

Second huge hit this week against a RHP.

The Hittin’ Fool needs more at-bats than Melky.

Plate Appearance

August 29th, 2010
8:11 pm

USED TO THE SINKER

It doesn’t make sense for the Braves to start two sinkerball pitchers in a row in Hudson and Lowe.

Whoever plays the Braves becomes much more used to seeing this type of pitching — and thus can be much more comfortable in the batter’s box.

It’s a real disadvantage to Derek!

Derek the Derelict

August 29th, 2010
8:14 pm

Hey, Wednesday’s payday. Where’s my $125,000? I might need to buy a new beard trimmer. Bunch of losers!

GuruR

August 29th, 2010
8:15 pm

PSR:
YES: MInor, Kimbrel, Glaus (PH & DH only), & FREEMAN! ! ! !
NO: McOut, Lowe, Kawakami, Lee.

scottc

August 29th, 2010
8:19 pm

Plate appearance: by your logic, if Hudson could pitch back to back (as fresh for start 1 as start 2), he would get his ass kicked the second game because hitters were “used to” seeing a ball drop off the table when they took a swing.

um . . .as Al used to say on “Tool Time”: “I don’t think so, Tim.”

nucleophile

August 29th, 2010
8:20 pm

I don’t like to see Derek Lowe pitch, but I do enjoy reading his “In the Pipeline” blog.

Don’t miss Derek Lowe’s excellent commentary on drug discovery and the pharma industry in general at In the Pipeline.

I can’t believe Derek does this when he is not pitching. And the posted picture of him looks weird.

Milt Famey

August 29th, 2010
8:22 pm

Go easy on Hanson. He’s had 2 bad outings in a row but his in four starts before that he went 7 innings each and gave up no more than 2 ER. He could easily have won all four but had no run support. If you don’t remember, go to atlantabraves.com and look it up.

stew

August 29th, 2010
8:26 pm

Minor certainly looks worthy. He hasn’t gotten rocked yet. Everybody gets rocked. Greg Maddux got rocked. Let’s see how he reacts to it. Jonny Venters looked unhittable for a long time up until recently when he got roughed up. I think he’ll bounce back. He might be one of our five best players.

Eric C.

August 29th, 2010
8:28 pm

Hanson is out of control! When he is having a bad game (a little too frequent as of late) he is REALLY bad it seems. Should you trust him as a third starter? I’d almost go with Minor if he continues to shine. As for Lowe…should he be ahead of Kawakami?

Eric C.

August 29th, 2010
8:30 pm

Milt…before those 4 good starts, he had was hit really hard in a couple of losses.

Eric C.

August 29th, 2010
8:31 pm

Not sure if it was a worse signing than Bruce Sutter

Milt Famey

August 29th, 2010
8:31 pm

Correction to Hanson’s #’s. In his first 4 starts in Aug he gave up 1,1,0,1 Er’s. His August ERA is 3.05 and that includes his last 2 starts. Glavine thinks his problem was mechanical. His location definitely wasn’t there on Fri or against the Cubs but he’s a big part of the staff.

Milt Famey

August 29th, 2010
8:36 pm

Eric C, Hanson’s ERA in July over his 5 starts was 2.43. He gave up less than 3 ER in all but one of those 5 games.

Milt Famey

August 29th, 2010
8:38 pm

BTW, Kawakami is getting lit up at AAA Gwinnett

cattle dawg

August 29th, 2010
8:56 pm

Braves are 2 an 0 since I got my new flat screen! Life is good.

Jeff Schultz

August 29th, 2010
8:59 pm

Smitty — I would feel more comfortable in the postseason with a 24-year-old in his second year in the bigs (Hanson) than a 22-year-old rookie (Minor).

Bob Horners Broken Wrist

August 29th, 2010
9:03 pm

To those of you giving Lowe and excuse about pitching behind Hudson….sorry, that won’t work…he was getting lit up becasue his pitches WEREN”tT sinking. Lowe just didn’t have it and that is becoming increasingl the case. This was another great game but here’s the problem….IF….IF we make the playoffs the opposing manager isn’t pulling his pitcher in the seventh because of pitch count. He’s getting left in to finish us off. If anybody thinks we rally for six against Johnson is a fool.
We have a chance but I think its becoming more clear by the day that we aren’t a playoff team, we just aren’t consistently good enough at the plate or in the field. Just think about it, if we lose just half of our last at bat wins, we’re in 4th place. We’re much closer to that type of team than we are to a Yankees or Rays team. Fortunately for the Braves the rest of the NL seems to be of a similar make up. We may get to the playoffs but I wouldn’t get my hopes up we’re going to do anything there, not unless we get somebody raking from the 4 hole which continues to be a black hole.

Jeff Schultz

August 29th, 2010
9:06 pm

Booquinn — Thanks. “Cowboy up” — there’s a term I haven’t heard for a while.

Jeff Schultz

August 29th, 2010
9:07 pm

Herschel Talker — I completely understand where you’re coming from. But I can also say we’ve been saying this since June and here we are, almost in September. If it works, it works.

Jeff Schultz

August 29th, 2010
9:08 pm

Cattle Dawg — I’ll need to confirm that with Elias.

MR Charlei

August 29th, 2010
9:14 pm

Lowe has shown again and again he can make adjustments. He has a great post season record. I wouild not make the decision on him just yet.

The Wad

August 29th, 2010
9:15 pm

You can`t be serious about Glaus on the PSR. Hitting AAA pitching doesn`t make you ready and able to hit MLB pitching. He couldn`t catch up to the speed up at MLB. Once he plays in a couple of games he will break down again and then you are stuck with a roster spot hole. My son watched McClouth at AAA today and said he stroked the ball in line drives all day. Maybe the training has paid off. McClouth would be a far better move than Glaus, in the field and probably with the bat.

Minor over Lowe. But let`s look at what happens in almost every PS game. A blow out comes up and you don`t have enough pitching to stop the bleeding in a game without using up your bullpen for the series. If we have Kimbrel,Lowe,Minor along with the usual suspects out there now then we could weather any storm better than any other team in the playoffs. Pitching will win for this team, not a broken down bat with no wheels.