Atlanta (55-53) at Los Angeles (66-42)

Light Rain Currently: Los Angeles, CA
Temp: 69° F
  • Game info: 10:10 pm EDT Thu Aug 6, 2009
Preview | Box Score | Recap

After signing a free-agent contract with the Atlanta Braves in the offseason, Derek Lowe(notes) had to wait four months to face his former team.

He doesn’t have to wait nearly as long to see them again.

Five days after beating the Los Angeles Dodgers, Lowe makes his return to Chavez Ravine where the Braves open a four-game series there Thursday night.

Last weekend in Atlanta, the Braves (55-53) dropped two of three to the NL West-leading Dodgers (66-42). The only game they won in that series came with Lowe (11-7, 4.21 ERA) on the mound.

Lowe signed a $60 million, four-year contract with Atlanta on Jan. 15 after going 54-48 with a 3.59 ERA in 137 appearances - 135 starts - in four years with Los Angeles. The right-hander was a three-time opening day starter for the Dodgers and won 14 games last season to help them reach the NLCS.

Lowe went through a bit of a rough stretch with his new team in June, but has since turned things around.

In his first appearance against his former team, Lowe allowed three runs and five hits in six innings of Saturday’s 4-3 win over the Dodgers, improving to 4-0 with a 3.00 ERA in his last five starts.

“That’s the guy I know,” Los Angeles manager Joe Torre said. “That’s the guy that helped us get to the playoffs last year.

“He goes after you. I’m not saying that in a negative way. He’s going to continue to be aggressive.”

Lowe now goes for his fifth straight win—something he hasn’t done since 2006 with Los Angeles—in one of his favorite ballparks.

The sinkerballer went 9-5 with a 2.30 ERA in 17 starts at Dodger Stadium a year ago and this will be his first appearance at Chavez Ravine in a visitors uniform since June 22, 2002, when he allowed five runs in seven innings of a 5-4 loss for Boston.

“It’s going be exciting,” Lowe told the Braves’ official Web site, “like it was (four) days ago.”

Since last weekend’s meeting with Los Angeles, the Braves took two of three at San Diego.

After scoring seven runs and batting .190 in the three games against the Dodgers and first versus the Padres, Atlanta’s offense awoke in the final two games at pitcher-friendly Petco Park. The Braves finished with 14 hits in Wednesday’s 6-2 finale after pounding out 17 in Tuesday’s 9-2 win.

While Atlanta’s offense is showing signs of getting on track, the Dodgers’ has been inconsistent.

Following a 17-4 win over Milwaukee on Tuesday, Los Angeles was limited to five hits in a 4-1 loss in Wednesday’s series finale. The Dodgers have dropped seven of 11, scoring 36 runs while batting .379 in the four wins but plating 18 runs while hitting .269 in the losses.

Randy Wolf(notes) (5-6, 3.47) takes the mound in the opener for Los Angeles after opposing Lowe last week. He allowed four runs and nine hits with seven strikeouts in six innings to take the loss, snapping a string of six straight quality starts.

Wolf hasn’t had much luck against the Braves lately, posting a 7.41 ERA in losing three straight starts against them since the start of last season. He is 0-5 with a 7.31 ERA in 10 outings against Atlanta since an 18-5 victory for Philadelphia on Sept. 9, 2003.

Los Angeles has reason to believe it can win the series opener with Wolf pitching at Dodger Stadium, even though the left-hander doesn’t have an impressive record there. He is 1-2 with a 3.91 ERA in 11 home starts, with the Dodgers winning eight.

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Starting Pitchers

D. Lowe Tex vs. R. Wolf Det
15-10 Record 11-7
4.67 ERA 3.23
111 K 160
63 BB 58
1.52 WHIP 1.10


Thursday, Aug 6