Derek Lowe is searching for some help from the scuffling Atlanta Braves' lineup, and he might be in line to get a considerable amount.
The Braves look to continue their dominance of the New York Mets in the opener of a three-game series Friday night at Turner Field.
Lowe (1-2, 1.45 ERA) has allowed three runs in 13 innings over his last two starts, but has lost both of them while the Braves have failed to score and totaled 12 hits.
The 37-year-old right-hander yielded two runs and seven hits in seven innings of a 3-0 loss to Philadelphia. He had allowed a run and five hits in six innings of a 1-0 defeat on April 5 in Milwaukee.
"You've got to throw a shutout to beat (Lowe), and they have," manager Fredi Gonzalez told the Braves' official website. "That's the way baseball is sometimes. It's a cruel game."
Lowe has experienced that in four home starts against the Mets (4-9) since joining Atlanta (5-8) in 2009. He's 0-1 with a 3.86 ERA and has been backed by eight total runs.
The Braves lost for the seventh time in nine games after falling 6-5 to Florida on Thursday. They're hitting .212 in that stretch with a 4.04 ERA.
"Our struggles continue," Chipper Jones said. "We've just got to work on putting all three phases together.
"We did this at various times last year, where we'd pitch and play defense, wouldn't hit. Pitch and hit, wouldn't play defense. Play defense and hit, wouldn't pitch. They all take turns. But then we hit our stride, started putting it all together."
The Braves have had little trouble putting things together against the Mets, winning 11 of the last 14 meetings and hitting .288 with 14 homers while the staff compiled a 2.23 ERA.
They've been even better over the past 27 matchups in Atlanta, winning 20 while outscoring New York 131-47 behind a .337 average and 22 homers.
The Mets come in on a five-game skid after losing both ends of a doubleheader Thursday versus Colorado, 6-5 in the first game and 9-4 in the nightcap. They totaled three errors and the staff surrendered seven homers with a 6.50 ERA en route to being swept in the four-game set in New York.
"Depressing," manager Terry Collins said. "We're better than this and we'll play better than this. I still believe we're going to straighten this out."
Collins will give the ball to D.J. Carrasco (0-0, 4.05) after Chris Young's scheduled start was pushed back to Sunday due to tendinitis in his surgically repaired right arm.
Carrasco has started just once in 212 appearances over four seasons. That came with the Chicago White Sox on July 31, 2009, when the right-hander allowed five runs and nine hits in four innings of a 10-5 win over the New York Yankees.
Carrasco has faced Atlanta once, throwing a perfect inning of relief for Pittsburgh on May 21. Collins is hoping Carrasco can throw 75 to 80 pitches.
Jose Reyes has been one of the few bright spots for the Mets, hitting .351 with five RBIs, nine runs, four stolen bases and a .561 slugging percentage over the last 12 games. He's 6 for 40 with one RBI and five runs in the past nine games at Turner Field.
The Associated Press News Service
The Associated Press
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