Braves Name Derek Lowe Opening Day Starter

The Atlanta Braves and Fredi Gonzalez announced today that Derek Lowe will be the team's opening day start on March 31st in Washington against the Nationals. Tommy Hanson will start the second game on Saturday, April 2nd, and Tim Hudson will start the following game.

Tim Hudson will start the Braves home opener on Friday April 8th against the Phillies. The rotation will include Jair Jurrjens as the fourth starter and the yet to be determined fifth start. The team will pitch Lowe in the fifth game of the season after Jurrjens, and then the yet to be determined fifth starter in the sixth game of the season. That will put everyone on normal rest the first time around. And it also looks like it sets up the Braves to skip the fifth starter the third time through the rotation, as the fifth starter spot would fall on the April 11th off-day.

The Braves could throw the fifth starter in a simulated game that day, instead of using him in relief in other games, and keep him on regular rest through the first month of the season. That plan would kind of slot Lowe as the fourth starter, setting up the ongoing rotation to be Hanson, Hudson, Jurrjens, Lowe, fifth starter.

Of course, Talking Chop called the opening day starters back when Fredi announced his spring rotation on February 22nd:

So the most likely scenario has the Braves pushing all the starting pitchers back a day when the spring off-day hits on March 22nd, and pushing them back again on the second off-day, the day after opening day. That would setup Lowe to be the opening day starter and Hudson as the starter for the home opener. If the team didn't skip anyone on that spring off-day, then Hanson would be the opening day starter, and Jurrjens would start the home opener -- that doesn't seem likely.

Fredi also said the spring rotation "doesn't give a clue about opening day starter." Unless, of course, it does.

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