August 19, 2009 at 3:36 pm by Capitol Avenue Club under Atlanta Braves, Joke, Pitching
After throwing seven straight quality starts in a span that saw him go 4-0 with a 2.91 ERA, Derek Lowe expanded his arsenal by adding a batting-practice fastball to go along with his sinker, curveball, and change-up.
“It’s really going to help me take it to the next level.” Lowe said in a press conference before his start Tuesday night. “I’ve been working on the pitch for awhile with Roger [McDowell, Braves' Pitching Coach]. I was able to consistently throw it letter-high over the heart of the plate with no movement, but Roger really helped me tone it down to about 81 MPH, just like a batting practice fastball should be.”
Lowe’s new pitch was on display Tuesday night as he was touched up for eleven hits in just 3 and 2/3 innings. Most of the damage came in the 4th when Lowe broke out the new weapon. The Mets totaled 8 runs on 10 hits–9 off of Lowe’s new BP Fastball, as he calls it.
“It was perfect, really” former Atlanta Braves outfielder Jeff Francoeur said. “He was doing a great job of getting the ball over the plate, it was easy to see, and it was coming in at the perfect speed. I don’t think anyone had trouble getting around on it or seeing it. It was just like taking live BP.”
Lowe was just happy he was able to do his job, even if he was charged with the loss.
“I’ve got my batting practice fastball now, I really think it’s a pitch I’ll be able to utilize over the next 4 years–the life of my contract. The Braves brought me in to give them quality innings for the next 4 years and I think this batting practice fastball is going to help me accomplish that.” Lowe continues, “There will be plenty more opportunities to throw batting practice in the future, on and off the field. I now know what I’ve got to do. Zero in on the heart of the plate, slow it down, and keep it straight as an arrow.”
Lowe, who signed the largest free agent contract in Atlanta Braves club history this past off-season–$60 million over 4 years–is prepared to use the BP Fastball in his next start against the Marlins on August 23.
“The Marlins are a young, aggressive team”, said Lowe. “They’ll really thrive off of the BP fastball. Just serve it up and let their unrefined tools do the work.”