Now that David Ortiz is hitting again–going 16-for-46 (.348) with six homers in 12 games so far this month–Mike Lowell is back to being primarily a bench player for the Red Sox and told Rob Bradford of WEEI.com that he’s not happy about it.
I don’t come in for defense. I’m always pinch-run for. Your level of importance feels diminished when I feel like I can do so much more. I just don’t know if the place where I can do so much more is here. The good news is that I can’t control that, but the bad thing is not being able to control the frustration.
The fact we’re not playing well adds to the frustration. If we had the best record in the big leagues, it makes things a little better because there’s a good vibe about the way we’re playing. There are good things. We’re not playing that well. It’s not just one thing. I think if my hip was bothering me all the time I think I would be frustrated, but there would be justification in me not playing.
The situation that is frustrating to me is that I think everybody wanted to see if I was healthier than last year, and I’ve got to believe that’s pretty apparent, and I don’t think my numbers merit not doing anything. The fact I feel good and I have instances where I have had good games and you can’t follow it up and you can’t get hot for two or three weeks, it can only add to your frustration.
This offseason Lowell was on the verge of being traded to Texas, where he’d have been an everyday player, but thumb surgery nixed that move and now the Rangers don’t have any room for him. Lowell would help plenty of other teams in a much bigger role than he has in Boston, but unless they can get significant value for him or save significant money by unloading him it makes sense for the Red Sox to keep Lowell around as an insurance policy at third base, first base, and designated hitter.
It was only a matter of time before Mike Trout courted another all-time record, and on Saturday, he found himself in elite company with his 25th and 26th home runs of the season. He put the Angels on the board with a 429-foot blast in the first inning, depositing an 0-1 fastball from the Orioles’ Kevin Gausman into the left field bleachers:
In the third inning, with the Angels up 2-1, Trout returned to tack on another insurance run. He targeted Gausman’s slider for his second solo shot of the evening and cleared the center field fence with a 418-footer to bring his total to 26 home runs on the year.
Trout has mashed at a staggering .339/.471/.596 clip since his return from the disabled list last month, and Saturday’s totals helped mark his sixth consecutive season with at least 25 home runs. That’s a record few have matched before their age-26 season; in fact, only Hall of Fame sluggers Eddie Mathews and Frank Robinson have ever pulled it off.
Assuming he continues to rake in hits and plate appearances over the last six weeks of the regular season — and there’s nothing to indicate that he won’t — Trout is in line to join elite company of a different kind. The 26-year-old entered Saturday’s game with a 206 OPS+ (park-adjusted on-base plus slugging). According to MLB.com’s Matt Kelly, that means Trout’s hitting at a better clip than the average Major League player by a full 106 percent. Should he finish the year with a 200 OPS+ and 502 plate appearances or better, he’ll be the first player to do so since Barry Bonds obliterated the competition with his 263 OPS+ in 2004.
The Blue Jays acquired right-hander Tom Koehler from the Marlins in exchange for minor league right-hander Osman Gutierrez and cash considerations, the clubs announced Saturday. Koehler is in his sixth year with the Marlins and stands to make $5.75 million in 2017. He’ll be arbitration eligible in 2018 and is set to enter free agency by 2019.
The 31-year-old right-hander struggled to a 7.92 ERA, 4.7 BB/9 and 7.1 SO/9 over 55 2/3 innings with Miami in 2017. He was optioned to Triple-A New Orleans in late July, where he rebounded with a 1-1 record in seven starts and whittled his ERA down to a 1.67 mark. The Blue Jays have yet to establish Koehler’s role within their organization, but are hoping to see a turnaround from the righty when he breaks back into the big leagues.
Gutierrez, 22, was assigned to Single-A Greensboro on Saturday. He has yet to find his footing in the minors, and exited a 78-inning stint with Single-A Lansing after racking up a career-worst 7.85 ERA and 8.2 SO/9. His lack of control is particularly alarming, with a 6.2 BB/9 that dwarfs the 2.0+ BB/9 of seasons past, but he still has plenty of time to figure out his mechanics before reaching the Show.