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Lowe's switch might be perfect timing for Braves

The Sports Xchange

Right-hander Derek Lowe unveiled a new delivery in Wednesday's start against the Marlins, and the Braves can only hope that's the key to his redemption. And their playoff chances.

Instead of bringing his hands up over his head in the windup, Lowe's hands stayed chest high. A timing device to slow his delivery, it also helped keep his pitches down.

Lowe pitched better Wednesday than he has all season, allowing only three runs on six hits. In the end he went only 6 1/3 innings, a whole lot better than the 2 1/3 innings he pitched in his last outing but a so-so length nonetheless.

And the Braves lost 4-0 to Florida.

As manager Fredi Gonzalez so eloquently put it: "He was good. He was really good. But, shoot, going against (Marlins right-hander Javier) Vazquez, he needed to be great."

Good or great, it might be too late to keep the Braves in the playoffs. Lowe does, however, have one more start scheduled, next Tuesday versus the Phillies at Turner Field.

Imagine if the Braves' season came down to that.

It's ironic that it was Vazquez who did in Lowe and the Braves, given that general manager Frank Wren was forced to trade Vazquez after he was easily the ace of the Braves' staff two seasons ago.

But the Braves had rookie right-hander Jair Jurrjens and right-hander Tommy Hanson in the wings. And right-hander Tim Hudson came back from Tommy John surgery and showed he was good as new.

Wren couldn't unload Lowe after his subpar season, with his above-average contract. The same will be true this offseason. Lowe's final year is worth $15 million. And no one wanted right-hander Kenshin Kawakami. Remember him?

Vazquez, then, was the only tradable pitcher.

But looking at it another way, the Braves received minor league right-hander Arodys Vizcaino, who is in their bullpen. And they also got left-handed reliever Mike Dunn, whom they traded to the Marlins last offseason as part of the package for second baseman Dan Uggla.

Copyright (C) 2011 The Sports Xchange. All Rights Reserved.


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