Mike Lowell was 2 for 4 with a solo homer, a walk and an RBI single in place of the slumping David Ortiz last night. And he’s going to get the start again tonight.
Yesterday I mentioned the Red Sox killing three birds with one stone. Lowell’s hot bat and presence in the lineup against the Rangers is definitely a two-stone job: it gives the team some DH production which was previously absent and it shows the Rangers that the guy they once wanted is healthy and hitting.
I’m not sure that Max Ramirez is still any kind of answer for the Red Sox — that proposed trade was a long time ago and the needs of each team is now different — but you have to wonder if the Rangers (or someone else for that matter) aren’t taking a second look at Mike Lowell. Texas’ catching situation is a mess, but from chaos often springs opportunity.
That is, if the Red Sox feel that they can afford to give him up. Because if he keeps hitting, he may just take the DH job away from Big Papi.
You hear a lot about pitchers tipping pitches. It’s often offered up post-facto as an excuse for poor performance by the pitcher himself or his own team. It’s sort of like the “best shape of my life” thing being offered in the offseason to talk about why the player got injured or played badly the previous year. “Smitty’s stuff is still great, he was just tipping his pitches,” said a source close to the player whose stuff is not really great anymore.
Which isn’t to say that pitchers don’t tip pitches. Of course they do. Opposing teams look for it, pick up on it and take advantage of it whenever they can. It’s just that (a) the opposing team has an interest in not talking about it, lest the pitcher STOP tipping its pitches; and (b) the guy actually tipping his pitches doesn’t want to talk specifically about it lest he starts doing it again.
Which is what makes this article at Sports Illustrated so interesting. In it Tom Verducci talks to an anonymous Houston Astros player who explains how Dodgers starter Yu Darvish was tipping his pitches during the World Series, leading to him getting absolutely shellacked in Games 3 and 7. The upshot: the Astros knew when a slider or a cutter was coming, they waited for it and they teed off.
Darvish is a free agent now. I’m guessing, whoever signs him, knows exactly what they’ll gave him work on the first day of spring training.