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.