Making his Yankees debut and his first relief appearance since 2007, Derek Lowe notched his first save in 11 years by throwing four scoreless innings in the Bombers’ 8-2 win over the Rangers on Monday.
It was Lowe’s 86th career save. The first 85 all came with the Red Sox from 1998-2001. He moved into the rotation on a permanent basis in 2002 and had made just one relief appearance in the 11 years since.
The Yankees signed Lowe to pitch in middle relief, but he looked so good tonight that they allowed him to just keep going and finish the game. He allowed two hits, walked none and struck out four in his four frames. 33 of his 44 pitches went for strikes.
It’ll be interesting to see what the Yankees do if Lowe continues to succeed as a long man. He’s still stretched out to start, and though the Yankees wouldn’t necessarily need him in that role if CC Sabathia returns later this month as hoped, he does give them options.
On Monday, Major League Baseball announced some changes aimed at improving the game’s pace of play, something that has been a pet cause for commissioner Rob Manfred. Among the changes was a limit on mound visits whether from managers and coaches, the catcher, or other defenders. Each team will have six non-pitching change mound visits per game and one additional visit each inning in extra innings. Craig wrote more in depth on the changes here if you happened to miss it.
Angels catcher Martin Maldonado says he is going to do what’s necessary to stay on the same page with his pitchers. Via Jeff Fletcher of the Orange County Register, Maldonado said, “If the game is on the line, I’m going to go out there. If we’re at six [visits], and it’s going to be the seventh, I’m going to go out there, even if I have to pay a fine. I’m there for the pitchers.”
Cubs catcher Willson Contreras said as much on Tuesday. Per Josh Frydman of WGN News, Contreras said, “What about if you have a tight game and you have to go out there? They can’t say anything about that, that’s my team and we just care about wins. If they’re going to fine me about number seven mound visit, I’ll pay the price.”
Exhibition games haven’t even started yet, but two notable backstops — the lesser-known Maldonado won a Gold Glove last year — are clearly not happy with the rule change. As Craig alluded to in his article yesterday, arguments between catchers and umpires (and, subsequently, managers and umpires) are probably going to become more frequent, which would likely end up nullifying any pace of play improvements.