In the year’s biggest game, the Braves go with Derek Lowe

If the Braves win today — and they’re playing at an odd time (4:35 p.m.), so affix a Post-It to your computer — they’ll assure themselves of leading the wild-card chase by a full game headed into the season’s final series. And that would be huge, given that San Francisco and San Diego play one another this weekend.

The Padres are a game and a half behind the Braves as we speak, but San Diego plays tonight and again tomorrow. (The Braves are off Thursday.) Were the Braves to lose today, the wild card could be a dead heat with three games left. Lose today and it would be possible for both the Giants and the Padres to make the playoffs (one as the winner of the National League West) ahead of the Braves.

Even if the Braves win today, they could still miss the playoffs — but they’d have to get swept by the Phillies, who will surely be playing their J.V. squad this weekend, to do it. If the Braves win today and take one game from the Phils, they’ll finish 91-71. If the Padres win their remaining five games, they’d finish 92-70 … but the Giants, provided they win the next two against Arizona before losing the final three against San Diego, would finish 91-71. (Which would mean the Braves would be playing San Fran here Monday in a one-game playoff for the wild card.)

Long story short: Win today and the Braves would be almost there. And who’s pitching? Why, Derek Lowe. And it seems altogether fitting that, in this wildest of seasons, the starting pitcher Braves fans had come to esteem least is now the guy they most want toeing the slab in a big game. Funny old world, isn’t it?

203 comments Add your comment

Alan

September 29th, 2010
9:03 am

First , I think

CSpin

September 29th, 2010
9:04 am

This is all great and what not—but how do we expect to go far w/out Prado/Chipper/Medlin and an enemic offense??

Alan

September 29th, 2010
9:05 am

I think Tommy H is the best pitcher right now. I like the game time. Allows me to take my 3 year old to the game. Win today and at the very least a tie is likely.

Mark Bradley

September 29th, 2010
9:06 am

Indeed. Alan, kudos.

CSpin

September 29th, 2010
9:07 am

Oh, and Jurrjens too.

Mike Hampton Owes Me Money

September 29th, 2010
9:09 am

See you at the Ted

corkylovesbeer

September 29th, 2010
9:11 am

Mark,

How do you like your coffee?

CSpin

September 29th, 2010
9:12 am

Oh, and without a center fielder. And a left fielder.

But this is funny world, MB, true that. Anything could happen. I’ll be cheering my brains out from KY.

Keith

September 29th, 2010
9:12 am

Yes, Bradley, that would be right. Back when things were right in our baseball world…JJ had come back strong from the DL, Huddy was untouchable and Hanson was really good. Heck, even Minor was solid the first 3 outings. That’s when Lowe was so frustrating. Inconsistent. Then came September. :)

Maybe he’s warming up for a playoff run? He has a recent history of doing well in big games in the playoffs…maybe, just maybe!

I’m tempted to come down to the old park today. Well, 15 years isn’t old, I guess, but it sounds better when I call it that. ;)

Booyah

September 29th, 2010
9:13 am

Mark – could you get Hinskie and Diaz into today’s lineup for Booyah please. I am headed down to the game and would like to see us get some hits.

Mark Bradley

September 29th, 2010
9:13 am

I’m not a coffee person, corkylovesbeer. Thanks for asking, though.

Keith

September 29th, 2010
9:14 am

Oh, and Bradley….

I guess you haven’t posted the blog at my suggestion about how poor September play doesn’t usually translate into a guarantee of poor postseason play (or vice-versa)….but I guess you wouldn’t want fans to think you botched this for the Braves. Which is completely silly anyway…

:) GO BRAVES!

GSU Eagle 91

September 29th, 2010
9:14 am

I am just going to enjoy these last 4 days of Baseball season…
With a wounded and suspect squad the Braves still have a pulse, and I appreciate their efforts. Last night was a great game, and I am sure the Marlins will be ready to stick it to us today if they can….

If we get to the playoffs I don’t think we can beat the Phillies in 2-1 or 3-2 games…But we’ll worry about that when we get there!

Keith

September 29th, 2010
9:16 am

Re: GSU Eagle 91

I know. Last night was typical Braves fashion for the win! :) It was good to see. I am HOPING Bobby will give Hinske a chance to start today.

SimpleDawg

September 29th, 2010
9:16 am

I sure hope today is one of D-Lowe’s really good days……

NCBravesFan

September 29th, 2010
9:17 am

Gotta tip my cap to the Braves for gutting out a couple of wins this week. I’m proud of the guys for fighting through so many injuries. You could field a pretty decent team with the guys the Braves are missing!!!

Nicely done!

Roseman

September 29th, 2010
9:21 am

Well…even if they go no where in the playoffs…everyone is giving all they got to get Bobby to the play offs for his final tour, and that’s why he keeps saying that this team is the hardest working team he has ever coached. They may not have a lot of talent…but this group has got a whole lot of heart. I hope they make it, regardless of what happens after that. We certainly have a bright future, and some more roles will be defined in the next few days.

Chris

September 29th, 2010
9:21 am

I’m very proud of our boys… I do have to ask though… what more does Hinske have to do to get in the lineup?

Roseman

September 29th, 2010
9:24 am

Hey NCBravesFan…love that hat tipping! Taking a line right out of BMac’s post game comment book. I am the second biggest NCBrave fan behind you…in Rocky Mt, NC. Go Braves and Go Wolfpack! (NC State 1978 class).

chazs

September 29th, 2010
9:25 am

I think Lowe will do fine. He has been very good recently. Also we should all bring our radios, as Tommy G will be broadcasting today.

Nick

September 29th, 2010
9:27 am

should be 92-70

Here Comes Bream

September 29th, 2010
9:28 am

Excited about the game today! Got some insane deals on stubhub today. If you are thinking about going, grab some cheap seats and roll on out!

notdeadyet

September 29th, 2010
9:30 am

Is it just me; or does it seem like the guys who were making things happen back in the Summer are the same guys making it happen come fall? Prado and Chippper have been great and gave 110% – but it just seems electric things happen with Conrad, Hinske, McCann, Diaz and Infante or Glaus & McClouth as well. The bench is very strong for this team and it is showing up now.

Ted Turner

September 29th, 2010
9:30 am

Lowe has been our best pitcher in September. And he’s proven in the past that he can be a big game pitcher. Let’s keep our fingers crossed for another vintage performance by big D, and hope that Jason, Brian or Lee can get the big hit to put us up 2 games on the Pads.

Chief Nock A Homa

September 29th, 2010
9:32 am

Gotta think that if the Braves just go 2-2 in these last four they are in…

GMac

September 29th, 2010
9:32 am

” If the Padres win their remaining five games, they’d finish 92-69″ The Padres only have to play 161 Games? ;)

NCBravesFan

September 29th, 2010
9:32 am

Roseman – Greensboro here, but moving to Raleigh early next year. I heard you were the biggest Braves fan up here!

Hope all is well in RM – hope the rain doesn’t get too heavy over that way.

Nick

September 29th, 2010
9:33 am

Keith

September 29th, 2010
9:34 am

Re: notdeadyet

Love the analysis! You are bringing it, baby!! :)

You are exactly right. Hinske, Conrad, fill in the blank with guys that got hot and provided clutch ABs back in May-July. I am hoping Bobby gives Hinkse a start today and puts him in LF. We shall see.

I’m thinking of heading down to the park!!!

GO BRAVES :)

BDK

September 29th, 2010
9:35 am

Mark, if the Braves finished with a better record than the reds, giants, and padres, Who gets home field advantage in the first round?

GMac

September 29th, 2010
9:36 am

Mark, what’s the status with Glaus? Do you see him getting any playing time at 3rd base now? If he could recapture some of that May magic, it would be a big help down the stretch.

Kashi

September 29th, 2010
9:38 am

Rotation is set perfectly if we make it to play off. I will be glue to TV for giants, padres and braves game for next few days. But TP better come up with plans for guys to start hitting otherwise it will be same old story next week, BRAVES FORGET TO HIT IN PLAYOFF.

Darryl Blackberry

September 29th, 2010
9:38 am

What a team! We threw dirt on the casket, and they rose up. Even now, Mitch Williams sez that the Pads will be the WC team because of their pitching. But where’s the magic?

Short answer: the Braves have it.

CJ

September 29th, 2010
9:38 am

Every game is the biggest game now. D-Lowe’s been there before in big games and has come through. I say he gets it done today, too.

Darryl Blackberry

September 29th, 2010
9:39 am

GMac: I agree. Glaussy needs to get in there. I just hope he can cleanly field bunt attempts, which will surely be comin’ aplenty…

Mike S

September 29th, 2010
9:42 am

Today’s game is huge. As Mark said, win today and the Braves are all but assured a minimum of a one game playoff.

Can’t wait for Sunday – have tickets behind home plate and my “THANKS BOBBY!” shirt all ready to go!!! Gonna be a sad day at Turner Field in some ways, but an awesome day in so many others. I will cherish being able to see the greatest manager of our generation in his last regular season game.

GO BRAVES!

Roseman

September 29th, 2010
9:43 am

NC BravesFan…how about an email address so we an go offline here…the rain is pouring down…too many Dennis/Floyd similarities.

RickNole

September 29th, 2010
9:48 am

Lowe has been the most consisten lately. Lets get this win!

Wreckmaniac

September 29th, 2010
9:48 am

After 5 innings last night, I couldn’t take it any more. 6 hits for the Marlins, 1 for the Braves. I quit and decided to wai until this am to find out. I will watch no game beyond the 5 th inning if they are behind.
Has any team in history scored fewer runs than the Braves this Sept ?
The better score today because Lowe will give up some runs.

Bushwacker

September 29th, 2010
9:49 am

THANK YOU ERIC HINSKE!!!

I all I ever wanted was for the guys who helped you get to 22 games over 500 and to first place to JUST GET A CHANCE TO HELP THE TEAM WIN!!!

Go ahead run on third, one out, all Ankiel needed to do pretty much was put the ball in play, HE CANNOT EVEN MAKE CONTACT!

Hinske with 2 outs, 2 srtikes BLASTS A HR TO SAVE BOBBY COX.

I wonder who will be in the line up today??

Wreckmaniac

September 29th, 2010
9:51 am

Forget competing against the Phillies. I say the Phillies in 5 games over the Yanks in the Series.

JEB

September 29th, 2010
9:51 am

The Braves have GOT to be
the Biggest Underdog
going into the playoffs!

If you like underdogs,
the Braves are the team
to pull for!!

GO BRAVES!!

mike

September 29th, 2010
9:53 am

I wish people would pack the Ted! I was there Monday night and last night, but cannot make it today. Folks, go out and support this team. They are far from the most talented team, but they have heart and deserve your support. I will be there again Friday night when we CLINCH the wild card. Check stubhub for great, cheap seats for today’s game if you can’t afford regular prices.

Go Braves!

Mitchell

September 29th, 2010
9:53 am

Wrong.

The Braves biggest games were in Florida and Pittsburg when they were still in first place.

But what happened? They lost. They blew it.

Every big game the Braves had from about mid-August to early September when they still held a lead in the division they fumbled.

I’m not saying I don’t want them to make the playoffs but forgive me for being less than thrilled about having to settle for the wild card.

Wreckmaniac

September 29th, 2010
9:54 am

Batting practice should begin at noon and the entire Gwinnett pitching squad should come in to pitch practice at full speed. PLEASE SCORE SOME RUNS TODAY !!!!!!

Bushwacker

September 29th, 2010
9:55 am

21 at bats for the month of Sept for Hinske, can ANYONE EXPLAIN THAT?

Maybe Bobby has decided he’s running out of time, we might even see Glaus play?

The guy DESERVES A CHANCE TO HELP US WIN, just like Hinske.

Let’s se Hinske,Diaz and Glaus geta chance to contribute!

Ted M

September 29th, 2010
9:58 am

I’m glad it looks like they’re going to get in but its amazing they are doing it with this defense. Melky looked like a fool on that fly ball last night (he’s had others like that too).

There are going to be a bunch of flawed teams in the playoffs so I think they’ll even have a shot there too.

JEB

September 29th, 2010
9:58 am

Mitchell, you would just rather stay negative
so that when things do go wrong –
you can say “I told you so!”

What weird ego!

Matty D

September 29th, 2010
9:59 am

IN BROOKS WE TRUST

Jesse Stone

September 29th, 2010
9:59 am

Why does Glaus “deserve a chance”? This isn’t about sentimental, it’s about putting the best matchups on the field to win games. Lowe is a sinkerballer. Putting Glaus at 3rd would be a disaster with lots of choppers and at least one Bonifacio bunt.
People seem to have forgotten how horrible Glaus was other than those 6 weeks. No, Lee hasn’t been great but he is MUCH better than Glaus was.