The Atlanta Braves have cooled off Matt Kemp, and may have
another starter on the mound that is more than capable of doing the
same – even on short rest.
The Braves will use Derek Lowe on three days’ rest Wednesday
night when they continue a four-game road set against Kemp’s Los
Kemp continues to lead the majors with a .438 average, but he’s
hitless in six at-bats since his first-inning single in Monday’s
4-2 victory in the series opener. He went 0 for 3 with a walk in
Tuesday’s 10-1 loss.
The center fielder is 0 for 6 in his career against Lowe (2-2,
1.82 ERA), who has been stellar this year despite getting little
support. Lowe allowed two runs over six innings Saturday in a 4-2
victory over the New York Mets.
The right-hander had dropped his previous two starts despite a
2.08 ERA as the Braves (8-10) were shut out both times.
Because Saturday’s effort came in the opener of a doubleheader,
Lowe will have to pitch on short rest. He last did so Sept. 29, and
earned a 5-1 victory over Florida by striking out nine and allowing
one run over 5 2-3 innings.
“I’m going to feel the same regardless, good or bad,” Lowe told
the Braves’ official website. “Actually, I look forward to it.”
Lowe is 1-1 with a 2.95 ERA in three starts against the Dodgers
since he left the club to sign with the Braves as a free agent in
2009. Los Angeles has some hitters with decent numbers against him
including Jamey Carroll (5 for 11), Andre Ethier (4 for 8) and
James Loney (4 for 9).
Ethier’s 16-game hitting streak is the longest in the majors and
matches the longest of his career set July 26-Aug. 12, 2006. He’s
batting .393 during the run.
Atlanta, though, was more productive at the plate as a team
Tuesday with four homers among a season-high 14 hits. Dan Uggla had
a three-run homer and pinch-hitter Eric Hinske added a two-run shot
as part of an eight-run ninth inning.
“The final score looks different than what the game really was,”
said manager Don Mattingly, who turns 50 on Wednesday. “It’s a 2-1
game going into the ninth, and then you just can’t stop them.”
Brian McCann and Nate McLouth have combined for eight hits in
the series. Atlanta has eight extra-base hits while Los Angeles
(8-10) has three doubles.
Dodgers starter Jon Garland (0-1, 11.25) looks to bounce back
from a rough season debut. He was activated off the disabled list
Friday after straining his left oblique March 9, and gave up five
runs over four-plus innings in an 11-2 home loss to St. Louis.
“He wasn’t as sharp as we’d like,” Mattingly told the Dodgers’
official website. “He was fine (physically). He came out of that,
obviously, he had a bit of a bruised ego when you don’t pitch the
way you want to.”
Garland is 0-2 with an 11.48 ERA in three career starts against
the Braves. He’s had success against Uggla, limiting the slugger to
three singles in 15 at-bats.