Short layoff shouldn't affect Lowe
Dodgers' Game 4 starter has had success on three days' rest
LOS ANGELES -- The Dodgers' decision to tab Derek Lowe as Monday's Game 4 starter on three days' rest was no rash reaction to Los Angeles dropping its first two games in Philadelphia.Instead, it was originally discussed as early as the Dodgers' season-ending road trip in San Francisco, when it was decided Lowe would pitch a potential Game 4 against the Cubs in the National League Division Series that never came to fruition and subsequently a Game 4 of the NL Championship Series against the Phillies.
"Pretty much I was going to pitch [Monday] regardless of the situation," Lowe said. "I've known all along this was going to be the scenario."By pitching Lowe in Game 4, the Dodgers will be going with a three-man rotation that involves bringing back Chad Billingsley for Game 5, Hiroki Kuroda for Game 6 and Lowe for a potential Game 7. Lowe is 2-1 with a 5.09 ERA in 23 innings over four starts on three days' rest and 1-0 with a 4.00 ERA on two days' rest during the regular season. Of course, there's also the Game 7 of the 2004 American League Championship Series that he won against current Dodgers manager Joe Torre's Yankees squad when he allowed one run on one hit in six innings. "If he maybe is a little tired, a sinkerball pitcher is probably the one guy that's not going to feel the effects of it," Torre said. "I think he's got the mindset and the experience that makes him raise his hand any time you think about doing something like this."
TALE OF THE TAPE: GAME 4 STARTERS
|2008 REGULAR SEASON|
|Overall||33 GS, 9-12, 4.69 ERA, 66 BB, 111 K||34 GS, 14-11, 3.24 ERA, 45 BB, 147 K|
|Key stat||PHI is 10-4 in his starts (incl. postseason)||2.48 GO/AO ratio (2nd in NL)|
|2008||1 GS, 1-0, 1.50||2 GS, 1-1, 3.18|
|Career||2 G, 1 GS, 1-0, 1.12||20 G, 9 GS, 5-5, 3.32|
|AT DODGER STADIUM|
|2008||1 GS, 0-0, 7.20||17 GS, 9-5, 2.30|
|Career||1 GS, 0-0, 7.20||68 G, 66 GS, 33-23, 3.21|
|AGAINST THIS OPPONENT|
|2008 regular season||2 GS, 0-0, 4.09||1 GS, 1-0, 4.26|
|Career||3 GS, 1-0, 3.32||11 G, 7 GS, 4-1, 3.02, 2 SV|
|Loves to face||Casey Blake, 1-for-21||Ryan Howard, 2-for-16, 0 XBH|
|Hates to face||Manny Ramirez, 14-for-25||Chase Utley, 5-for-14, 3 2B|
|Why he'll win||3-0, 2.63 in last 4 starts w/22 K, 5 BB||Has not allowed more than 2 ER in a start since Aug. 11|
|Pitcher beware||Allowed 11 HR in 76 2/3 IP (incl. playoffs)||5.09 career ERA on 3 days' rest|
|Bottom line||Keep it in the park||Happy at home|
Added Phillies manager Charlie Manuel, "I think the short rest will not bother him at all. He's a veteran that loves to take the ball. I've seen him start and come in two days later in relief. I've seen him do all kinds of stuff, especially in postseason. And I think he'll be the same pitcher that you saw the other day."
By the other day, Manuel was referring to Thursday's Game 1, when Lowe dazzled for five shutout innings and then lost the game by serving up a two-run homer to Chase Utley and a solo blast to Pat Burrell.Even those three runs (two earned) made for the most runs Lowe has allowed since he gave up three runs in 6 1/3 innings in his only regular-season start of the year against the Phillies on Aug. 11. He was almost unhittable down the stretch, going 4-0 with a 0.50 ERA in 36 1/3 innings over six starts, and has given up just five runs (four earned) in 11 1/3 postseason innings, all coming on home runs that may not have left Dodger Stadium. In his first NLCS start, Torre pulled Lowe after Burrell's homer having thrown just 90 pitches. He also made just 94 pitches over six innings in Game 1 against the Cubs in the NLDS on Oct. 1. So from that standpoint, his arm should be fairly fresh despite the short rest. Lowe said he has not changed his routine between starts at all because he cuts back on his conditioning and weightlifting anyway this time of year. The veteran sinkerballer will be taking the mound with momentum on the Dodgers' side. Kuroda's stellar outing in Los Angeles' 7-2 win in Game 3 brought the good vibes back to the Dodgers' dugout. Catcher Russell Martin feels good about Lowe's chances of knotting up the series. "I know he's going to have a comfort level where everything's on our side right now," Martin said. "We just got that win to get the momentum back, and we've just got to keep going after them. Derek Lowe's the guy I want on the mound tomorrow. "The thing is that he wants the ball. That's the kind of attitude we want to have."
Michael Schwartz is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.