Lowe regaining his prime form at age 38


The

losingest pitcher in the National League last year is now one of the

winningest pitchers in the American League. So far, the Indians are

quite happy with their offseason trade for Derek Lowe.

Lowe

pitched six solid innings Thursday night to get the win in the Indians’

8-3 victory over Boston. Pitching in his former home park, against one

of his former teams, Lowe held the Red Sox to two runs on nine hits with

three strikeouts and one walk.

With the win, Lowe improved to

5-1 with a 2.47 ERA. The five wins tie Lowe with four other pitchers for

the AL lead. Lowe’s numbers are in contrast to his record last year

with Atlanta, for whom he was 9-17 with a 5.05 ERA.

The Indians

acquired Lowe in a trade for a minor league pitcher, with the idea that

he could bring some experience, durability and dependability to their

rotation. The 38-year-old veteran has done exactly that in the early

going.

Lowe started the season as the No. 3 starter, but his numbers look more like those of a No. 1 starter.

“Anyone

can be your No. 1 once the season begins,” manager Manny Acta said.

“Derek has done a good job of picking up for Ubaldo (Jimenez) and Justin

(Masterson) and giving them time to put it back together.”

Masterson

and Jimenez began the season as the No. 1 and No. 2 starters,

respectively, but both have struggled. That has made Lowe’s fast start

even more important because he has picked up some of the slack. Had Lowe

gotten off to a poor start, too, it would be difficult to imagine the

Indians being where they are in the standings, in first place in the AL

Central.

NOTES, QUOTES

–CF Michael Brantley became the

third Indians player to have a four-hit game this season when he had two

doubles and two singles in five at bats in the Indians’ 8-3 win at

Boston. 2B Jason Kipnis and SS Asdrubal Cabrera have also had four-hit

games this season.

–RHP Derek Lowe pitched six solid innings to

get the win against his former team, an 8-3 victory over the Red Sox in

Boston. Lowe, who lost an NL-high 17 games last year with Atlanta, is

tied for the AL lead in wins with a 5-1 record. “Derek knows how to

pitch with the lead,” manager Manny Acta said. “He had a lot of traffic

on the bases but made pitches when he had to.”

–LHP Nick

Hagadone, since his recall from Class AAA Columbus on April 17, has

pitched his way into a prominent late-inning role. In a combined 14

appearances between Cleveland and Columbus, Hagadone has a 0.51 ERA,

allowing one earned run in 17 2/3 innings while holding opposing batters

to a .121 batting average. He threw a scoreless ninth inning Thursday

to close out the Indians’ 8-3 win at Boston.

–2B Jason Kipnis

was 2-for-5 with a home run in the Indians’ 8-3 win over Boston. That

raised Kipnis’ career batting average vs. Boston to .381 (8-for-21) with

four home runs.

–1B Casey Kotchman has rebounded from a

horrendous month of April to a have much better month of May

offensively. Kotchman, who hit .149 in April, is batting .308 in May.

–3B

Jack Hannahan, who did not play Wednesday due to a sore left groin, was

back in the starting lineup Thursday. He went 2-for-4 with a two-run

homer.

BY THE NUMBERS: 10-3 — The Indians’ road record, the best in the majors.

QUOTE

TO NOTE: “Michael hit everything from everybody.” — Manager Manny

Acta, on CF Michael Brantley, who was 4-for-5 with two doubles, two

singles and two RBI in the Indians’ 8-3 win over Boston.

MEDICAL WATCH:

–3B Jack Hannahan (sore left groin) did not play May 9. He was back in the starting lineup May 10.

–OF

Grady Sizemore (back surgery in March 2012) went on the 60-day disabled

list April 4. He was cleared to begin baseball activities in late

April, and as of May 9, was continuing his rehab at Progressive Field.

He might be able to return as soon as he is eligible.

–LHP Rafael Perez (strained left lat muscle) went on the 15-day disabled list retroactive to April 26.

–RHP

Carlos Carrasco (Tommy John surgery in September 2011) went on the

60-day disabled list March 26. He might miss the entire season.