June 1st, 2013

June 1 – Happy Birthday Derek Lowe

LoweI’ve never forgiven Lou Piniella or the Seattle Mariners for trading catcher Jason Varitek and today’s Pinstripe Birthday Celebrant to the Red Sox for Boston closer Heathcliff Slocumb at the 1997 trading deadline. Varitek became the captain and anchor of those great Red Sox teams that gave the Yankees so much trouble during the first decade of the new century. All Derek Lowe did for Boston was first become the team’s ace closer for a couple of years including a 42 save season in 2000 and then convert to the Red Sox starting rotation and become a 20-game winner in 2002. He also pitched brilliantly during the 2004 postseason culminating in Boston’s first World Series victory since 1918. And then surprisingly, Boston let him walk away as a free agent.

Lowe pitched the next seven years in the NL thanks to two huge four-year deals he signed with the Dodgers and Braves respectively. After he slumped to 9-17 in 2011, during his third year in Atlanta, Lowe was dealt to the Indians. He was struggling with an 8-10 record for Cleveland when he was released in August of 2012 and signed as a free agent by the Yankees. Joe Girardi put the 39-year-old right hander in his bullpen and in his first pinstriped appearance against Texas, he relieved David Phelps in the fifth inning with a 5-2 lead and held Texas scoreless the rest of the way to earn his one and only Yankee save. In all, Lowe made 17 appearances during the final two months of his only season with New York, all of them as a reliever. He got his only Yankee victory against his old team, the Red Sox, in the next-to-last game of the regular season.

Girardi then put him on the 2012 postseason roster. The 17-year veteran made one scoreless appearance against the Orioles in the ALDS and then got roughed up by the Tigers in the ALCS. In his last appearance in Game 4 of that depressing series, Lowe gave up a home run to former Yankee prospect, Austin Jackson. Even though New York was already five runs behind when Jackson hit that dinger, I knew that would be the last time Lowe got to pitch in a Yankee uniform. Sure enough, he was released after that series. The Rangers signed him to a contract for 2013 but released him on May 23rd.

Lowe shares his birthday with this long-ago Yankee catcher and this WWII-era outfielder.

Year Tm W L W-L% ERA G GS GF CG SHO SV IP H R ER HR BB SO HBP WHIP
2012 NYY 1 1 .500 3.04 17 0 10 0 0 1 23.2 24 9 8 2 6 14 0 1.268
17 Yrs 176 157 .529 4.03 681 377 168 10 4 86 2671.1 2759 1333 1195 217 794 1722 78 1.330
BOS (8 yrs) 70 55 .560 3.72 384 111 154 2 1 85 1037.0 1024 488 429 69 312 673 48 1.288
LAD (4 yrs) 54 48 .529 3.59 137 135 1 7 2 0 850.1 832 394 339 76 214 563 12 1.230
ATL (3 yrs) 40 39 .506 4.57 101 101 0 0 0 0 575.1 648 307 292 48 194 384 11 1.463
TEX (1 yr) 1 0 1.000 9.00 9 0 2 0 0 0 13.0 16 13 13 3 3 8 2 1.462
CLE (1 yr) 8 10 .444 5.52 21 21 0 1 1 0 119.0 156 79 73 8 45 41 3 1.689
NYY (1 yr) 1 1 .500 3.04 17 0 10 0 0 1 23.2 24 9 8 2 6 14 0 1.268
SEA (1 yr) 2 4 .333 6.96 12 9 1 0 0 0 53.0 59 43 41 11 20 39 2 1.491
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 5/31/2013.