Welcome to the Braves’ series finale against the Florida Marlins.
It’s “Bark in The Park” day, so there are several dogs in the stadium, although I’m not sure at this time if Bob Wickman has been invited back to throw out the ceremonial first pitch.
(Thank you. I’m here all game.)
The Braves, coming off Saturday’s 12-3 win over the Marlins, will try to win consecutive games for the first time since winning four straight Aug. 15-18 (two over Los Angeles, two over Washington). That was followed by a 6-2 loss to the Nationals and a stretch of six losses in eight games before Saturday’s 12-3 win over Florida.
A few subplots in today’s game:
♦ Derrek Lee suffered a strained in his right side Saturday night and is out of the lineup today (Eric Hinske starts at first). The injury is believed to be minor and Lee could be back Monday night against the New York Mets.
♦ If pitcher Derek Lowe (11-12, 4.33) wants to make a statement that he should be a postseason starter, he needs to win games like today’s and start stringing together some impressive games. He was tagged early in his last outing at Colorado, though he ended up allowing only three runs in six innings in a 5-2 loss to the Rockies. The Braves have won only one of Lowe’s last seven starts (Lowe in that span: 1-4, two no decisions, 4.17 ERA).
♦ The Braves are 45-18 at home this season and 17-1-2 in home series (trying to make it 18-1-2 today). Their only home series loss of the season came to Philadelphia back in April.
♦ Omar Infante, who went 2-for-4 with a double Saturday, is batting .344 — 18 points higher than National League batting leader Joey Votto (.326). Infante, however, doesn’t qualify for the batting title. According to the Elias Sports Bureau, Infante needs 146 plate appearances in the Braves’ final 33 games (4.42 per game) to qualify.
That’s it for now. Here’s the question of the day (and a possible subject of my column later): How important do you think it is for Lowe to have an impressive performance, going into the postseason (should the Braves make it)?
DID YOU MISS . . .