Steve Henson of Yahoo! Sports has the details on Derek Lowe’s new delivery:
Lowe used to hunch over and keep his hands near his chest as he
turned into the balance position before striding toward the plate. Now
he brings his hands above his head and stays as tall as possible over
the rubber, increasing the downward plane of his pitches.
“When you are 6-6 you don’t want to pitch at 5-10,” he said, adding
glibly, “teach your kids that.”
Lowe’s new motion resembles that of a taller Greg Maddux,
his golfing buddy and former teammate with the Dodgers.
Lowe tossed two perfect innings in his spring debut against the Nationals on Friday.
The sinkerballer hopes the new motion will help him induce a few more groundballs. Last season, Lowe posted a career-low 56.3 percent groundball rate while opposing batters made contact a career-high 85.3 percent of the time. It all added up to a disappointing season in which Lowe finished 15-10 with a 4.67 ERA and 1.52 WHIP. After an offseason full of trade rumors, Lowe will get an opportunity change the conversation early. He was recently named as the club’s Opening Day starter against the Cubs.
The Rays were set to honor retiring Red Sox DH David Ortiz with a ceremony prior to Sunday’s game, but as Pete Abraham of The Boston Globe reports, the slugger requested it be canceled out of respect for Marlins pitcher Jose Fernandez, who tragically died early Sunday morning in a boating accident.
Ortiz was seen tearing up as the Rays remembered Fernandez and held a moment of silence:
Kudos to Ortiz for doing the right thing.
With a fourth-inning solo home run off of Phillies starter Jake Thompson, Mets outfielder Curtis Granderson reached the 30-homer plateau for the fourth time in his 13-year career. It’s a moment worth celebrating, only there’s one problem: he has just 56 RBI on the season.
There are many reasons for the low RBI total. 24 of Granderson’s 30 homers have come with the bases empty. He came into Sunday’s action hitting just .140 in 124 plate appearances with runners in scoring position and .197 with runners on base. He has hit leadoff for most of the season, meaning he’s had the Mets’ pitchers hitting “ahead” of him in the No. 9 slot as well as the Mets’ catchers typically hitting eighth. Mets catchers, collectively, have a .296 on-base percentage, the second-worst mark in the National League.
Since the end of August, Granderson has hit cleanup with Jose Reyes, Asdrubal Cabrera, and Yoenis Cespedes hitting in front of him. That change hasn’t been for naught, as he has 17 RBI in 21 games since.
Still, Granderson is on pace for the fewest RBI in a 30-homer season. Rob Deer and Felix Mantilla are tied for the record with 64 RBI. Deer (32 HR) accomplished the feat in 1992 with the Tigers and Mantilla (30 HR) in 1964 with the Red Sox. Only eight players have had 70 or fewer RBI in a 30-homer season. Evan Gattis is currently sitting on 30 homers with 68 RBI.