Live from the ballyard: The Lowe-down on a big-game pitcher

Derek Lowe started Game 7 of the 2004 ALCS in the old Yankee Stadium. No pressure there. Only 85 years of Red Sox angst bottled into one night in the Bronx.

He won the game. Went on two days’ rest. Pitched six innings, yielded one hit and one earned run.

One week later, Derek Lowe started Game 4 of the World Series in the old Busch Stadium. No pressure there. Only the Curse of the Bambino and all that other sad New England history to put to rest.

He won the game. Pitched seven innings, yielded three hits and no runs.

Yeah, 2004 was a while ago — but not so long as 1918 was to Red Sox Nation — and we in Atlanta haven’t seen much of that D-Lowe in his two seasons here. But the Braves signed him for $15 million per annum for two reasons: First, Lowe never misses a start, and second, he’s a big-game pitcher.

Lowe missed one start this season. It came early this month after he received a cortisone shot for the bone chip in his elbow. He’s 4-0 since. He has yielded three earned runs in 25 September innings. He’s the reason the Braves lead the wild card chase by 1 1/2 games with four to play. He has done what even Tim Hudson couldn’t do — won big games by the bunch.

A lot of people wanted rid of Lowe after last season, Frank Wren chief among them. But the GM couldn’t find anybody willing to take that salary, and you know what? Sometimes the best trades (all together now) …

Are the ones you don’t make. The Braves would have been long gone without D-Lowe, and today they dispatch him to the hill again. He’s pitching on three days’ rest. Doesn’t matter. He’s Derek Lowe. He’s a gamer.

And with that, the floor is open for questions, comments and postseason projections. (I think the Braves will play the Giants in Round 1.) I’ll be here until the end of this strangely timed — game time is 4:35 p.m. — tilt, and I’d be obliged if you’d ride along. And I offer my thanks in advance.

673 comments Add your comment

heymmered

September 29th, 2010
3:20 pm

icceman

September 29th, 2010
3:22 pm

Go Get EM Derrick!!!!! Go Bravos

Jim Wiessener

September 29th, 2010
3:25 pm

I’ll be watching from Kincardine, Ontario on the MLB package, as a former resident of PTC/Sharpsburg/Jonesboro for about 22 years and recently Knoxville, TN I’ve been missing October Braves baseball… Born and raised 50 miles north of Philly, I became a full time Braves fan in ‘82 when I moved to Peachtree City after living north of Clearwater for 4 years, yes I had to Celebrate the ‘80 Phils win by myself, so my allegiance is with the BRAVES!!!!

Roper

September 29th, 2010
3:25 pm

Can we bring Smoltz back for the playoffs? He’s been known to pitch a big game or two. I’m sure he’d rather be down on the field than in the announcers booth.

Mark Bradley

September 29th, 2010
3:26 pm

Kudos, heymmered.

Mark Bradley

September 29th, 2010
3:26 pm

Only if I don’t have to interview him, Roper.

Trey

September 29th, 2010
3:28 pm

I am ready for today’s game. Hopefully we can pull another game ahead of the Padres.

Silly Goose

September 29th, 2010
3:32 pm

D-Lowe. Wow. I was the only one amongst my friends that was glad he wasn’t gone before this season started. Look now. I’m sure Lowe will pitch great today.
The only thing that would be cooler? If Ankiel comes in to pitch a 1-2-3 inning before the season ended.
I know it’s out there…..

NC BRAVES FAN

September 29th, 2010
3:32 pm

We need to put some runs on the board early. Anyone know what our lineup is looking like today againt the lefty?

jimmymack

September 29th, 2010
3:33 pm

Office Space

September 29th, 2010
3:33 pm

Where are all the naysayers that were ranting yesterday before the braves won?

Turlock Brave

September 29th, 2010
3:37 pm

ESPN is actually broadcasting this game. The entire AL East must be having a bad hair day, or something.

Bubbaallred

September 29th, 2010
3:37 pm

How about some reverse psychology? I think Lowe has lost it. He’s not a gamer anymore. He’s not much of anything anymore besides an older average pitcher. He won’t win tonight. The Braves will lose this game big – 8 to 1. Afterwards, I’ll be gloating because I predicted it perfectly.

Alrighty, enough of that. Go, Braves!!!

somewhereovertherainbow

September 29th, 2010
3:37 pm

no other choice, really. Go for age, guile and endless # of innings pitched vs these hungary young fish.

Mark Bradley

September 29th, 2010
3:37 pm

Infante, 2B; Heyward, RF; Diaz, LF, Lee, 1B; Gonzalez, SS; Ross, C; Conrad, 3b; Cabrera, CF; Lowe, P.

NCBrave

September 29th, 2010
3:37 pm

I’m hoping for some early runs for a change! Go Braves!

Dick Doss

September 29th, 2010
3:38 pm

Braves lineup: 1. Infante 2B, 2. Heyward RF, 3. Diaz LF, 4. Lee 1B, 5. Gonzalez SS, 6. Ross C, 7. Conrad 3B, 8. Cabrera CF, 9. Lowe P per DOB

norman

September 29th, 2010
3:38 pm

Bradley- Do you think that the Phils this weekend will really play it soft with their subs? I don’t think the NL President would like that idea.

SG10

September 29th, 2010
3:39 pm

Mark,

We are so used to doing this ‘live blog’ thing that I kept calling Jeff with your name in his blog yesterday..anyway, good to have you do this thing today and I hope Braves win again..

Dick Doss

September 29th, 2010
3:40 pm

anyone have audio stream at work in cali and would like to hear the game

SG10

September 29th, 2010
3:40 pm

I think Heyward, Lee and McCann (who is not playing today) are due big time today!..it would be nice to get few runs early and dominate the game..winning today’s game will put extra pressure on the Giants and Padres.

tickmeter

September 29th, 2010
3:41 pm

Buy the Playoff tickets, don’t buy the Playoff tickets, buy, maybe not, next year?, OK I’m Buying!

SG10

September 29th, 2010
3:42 pm

Yeah, if you watched ESPN baseball, you would think that Mets and Cardinals are leading the league…they have ridiculous amount of coverage of these two teams from NL

Who starts a major league...

September 29th, 2010
3:43 pm

…baseball game at rush hour in a major city?

Anon21

September 29th, 2010
3:44 pm

Mark: You say the Braves would have been long gone, but for Lowe. But you can’t know that unless you know who would have replaced him, if he had hypothetically been traded over the offseason. Nor should we forget that there have been games earlier this season where his performance essentially caused us to lose. Those games matter just as much in the standings as the one this afternoon.

jaydawg33

September 29th, 2010
3:45 pm

Silly goose. You are that for sure :) . AS for the Braves, I can feel a beautiful story here. I think we’ve got a team full of Gibsons and Shillings.

nique

September 29th, 2010
3:45 pm

I’m a Diaz fan, but it’s ridiculous to have him batting 3rd. Also, why do we seem to think Melky is a CF’er?

ugatiger

September 29th, 2010
3:47 pm

We need run support early, that is when it seems he gets in that groove. And then again, run early run support makes all pitcher better!

nique

September 29th, 2010
3:48 pm

have i been banned for some reason? my comments don’t seem to show up anymore.

jaydawg33

September 29th, 2010
3:48 pm

I wanna see more small ball.

nique

September 29th, 2010
3:49 pm

guess not. anyway, i’m a diaz fan, but it’s ridiculous he’s batting 3rd. why does bobby think melky is a cf’er?

corkylovesbeer

September 29th, 2010
3:51 pm

Mark,

Do you konw the reasoning for this unique start time for today’s game

Mechabradzilla

September 29th, 2010
3:52 pm

“Line drive left field, here comes Gabera he scores, here comes Freeman and he is SAFE! SAFE at the plate!!!! The Braves have given you a wild card!!!!

Darryl Blackberry

September 29th, 2010
3:53 pm

I don’t like the idea of the Phils playing loosey-goosey; they might actually win. Better if the Braves sweep the Marlins here and now so there’s less pressure on BOTH ball clubs…

Abnerish

September 29th, 2010
3:53 pm

Hoping for a big day out of D-Ross. It’s his turn…

Floyd

September 29th, 2010
3:55 pm

No McCann? Really? In the biggest game we’ve played in five years?

What am I missing?

DCBrave33

September 29th, 2010
3:55 pm

Hey Mark,

I unfortuately have to agree with you that if we make the playoffs it will be the Giants in the first round. They are a game up on Cincy for the #2 seed, and they also hold the tiebreaker advantage with a better head to head record. I do feel Cincy would be a better matchup, but at this point, get in and take our chances with whomever, right?

1990_Champs_GT

September 29th, 2010
3:58 pm

Wish we’d barbecue the Fish early today. I’m tired of these close ones. Give my blood pressure a break for once.

Mark Bradley

September 29th, 2010
4:01 pm

Extremely windy today.

Mark Bradley

September 29th, 2010
4:02 pm

No McCann, Floyd. Sitting against the lefthander. Available to pinch-hit.

1990_Champs_GT

September 29th, 2010
4:02 pm

I agree with DCBrave33, get in the playoffs and worry about match ups later.

Mechabradzilla

September 29th, 2010
4:02 pm

Mark Bradley 2 Questions :)

1. What will the pennant color in the outfield be if the braves get the wild card?

2. How do you feel if the Braves and Twins meet in a rematch of the 1991 World Series? I mean what could be more great than a rematch and a Bobby Cox win right? RIGHT??? RIGHHHTT? :P

Mark Bradley

September 29th, 2010
4:03 pm

I don’t know why they’re starting at 4:35, corkylovesbeer. I think ESPN wanted a late-season doubleheader day, but I could be in error.

1990_Champs_GT

September 29th, 2010
4:03 pm

Can’t win if you’re not in.

Heath

September 29th, 2010
4:04 pm

And say what you will about Lowe’s ERA, the Braves SCORE for him! And that would be confirmed as undisputable fact if they do today, with this lineup.

Mark, does anyone keep statistics on runs per game per pitcher? I’d be interested to see if any other Braves pitchers get the run support Lowe does.

NC BRAVES FAN

September 29th, 2010
4:07 pm

Mark, Any idea what Glaus has been up to on the bench, or what he is saying? I would love to see him get a start at third base sometime.

Steve

September 29th, 2010
4:08 pm

Mark, do you have an early prediction for the Braves vs. Giants? What if it ends up being the Reds? Who would you think has a better chance of getting past Philly? Hope it’s a good crowd today! Last night was great, the crowd was really into it. Most stayed the whole game too which is odd. By the way Braves fans, Fox Sport South is going to broadcast the ceremony on Saturday at 3:00 even though the game is on FOX. Very nice of them in case you can’t go!

MWC

September 29th, 2010
4:11 pm

No problem here w/ Ross playing today.
He’s a gamer.

Abnerish

September 29th, 2010
4:11 pm

no doubleheader on ESPN. Not sure why they chose such an odd start time.

jmart1951

September 29th, 2010
4:12 pm

Mark,
I appreciate your blog and that you have taken control of today’s game blog; however, have you noticed :) lately that whenever you have definitively positive remarks concerning the Braves and their chances for the Divisional Championship and the Wild card spot those things immediately began to slip from our fingers? So why did you put the hex on DLowe today … (not that I believe in that sort of thing)?