Derek Lowe has to be wondering what he has to do to get a win. In his three starts he’s thrown 18 2/3 innings allowing 15 hits and 3 runs (ERA 1.45 WHIP 1.07). The Braves have given him exactly 2 and both of those came in the first two innings of the first game of the season. Today he threw 99 pitches (64 strikes), scattered 7 hits and 2 runs, striking out 2 and walking no one. If he could have silenced the streaking Shane Victorino he might still have been in the game in the 9th. It seems that when Lowe pitches the opposing pitcher makes a Cy Young bid. Like Yovani Gallardo last Tuesday Cole Hamels pitched a superb game, allowing 4 hits while walking only one and striking out 8. As happened when they faced Cliff Lee, it was the lefties (McLouth, Heyward and Freeman) who got the first hits off Hamels, Alex Gonzales got the only hit from a right hander.
Skipper Fredi Gonzales has got to find a way to shake this lineup into shape fairly quickly. We’ve lost 5 of our last 6 and are dead last in the NL East. I know it’s still early but with the talent is this lineup that simply can’t continue. Although Nate McLouth got a hit today, he’s looked nothing like a two hole hitter. In leverage situations he reverts to that uppercut swing or gets pull happy and rolls over the pitch grounding harmlessly to second or hitting into a double play. He hasn’t advanced a runner that I recall. He has twice hit into double plays however. It’s not just McLouth. the lineup as a whole is hitting just .229 after today’s game and that number is inflated BMac’s 261 and Chipper’s 297. Dan Uggla has been impotent and all of his “That’s the way it goes in April. . ."” talk doesn’t sound like someone working hard to make it feel like June. If you exclude the blowout last Sunday against the Nats minor league ready pitchers the Braves are averaging just over 2 runs a game. That harks back the struggles last year when Hanson and Kawakami pitched. No one wants to see that again.
I said after last week’s game that the destruction of the Nats showed what the lineup could do. That’s especially true against the number four and five starters in a rotation. We should have done better against Marco Estrada. I know that the pitching – specifically the ineffective Sherrill – caused yesterday’s blowout but Roy Oswalt is not the ace he once was. We really should have done better against him too. I’d like to see Nate get Prado over to second or third, bunt now and then and attempt to steal as well. Speed is supposed to be part of his game and one of the reasons we traded for him, it’s about time he used it. we need to do something to change things. The Fish are next at the TED. They always play us tough we are set to face their fine young starters in Chris Volsted, Josh Johnson and Ricky Nolasco. We send out Hanson, Hudson and Beachy in that order to do battle. We need to score early and take a little pressure off and help the Skipper whip the managerial midgets that fired him last year. Speaking of taking pressure off, I guess I need to start my taxes.