On Wednesday, the Cleveland Indians intentionally threw a bucket of ice on his season. Or maybe it's more accurate to say they made the 39-year-old right-hander walk the plank, designating him for assignment a day after he turned in another poor performance in Kansas City.
The move clears the way for rookie Corey Kluber to make his first career start on Thursday night, but it also ends one of the more spectacular nosedives we've seen from a major leaguer this season.
Lowe broke quickly from the gate, working his way into All-Star contention by compiling a 6-2 record with a 2.15 ERA over his first nine starts. But he was doing this, of course, under the recent memory of his poor performance for Atlanta down last season's stretch and most of us assumed that Lowe's fortunes would turn at some point.
We didn't have to wait long. Starting with an eight-run failure against Chicago on May 26, Lowe would finish his Indians tenure by posting a 2-8 record with a 8.80 ERA over his final 12 starts. Five of those outings featured him allowing seven or more earned runs, including seven to the Royals in just 2 1/3 innings of work on Tuesday.
Throwing in the towel on Lowe isn't the biggest of losses for Cleveland. The Braves were paying $10 million of his $15 million salary in 2012 and now the Indians have more innings to give youngsters like Kluber.
It would seem, however, that this move also signals a white flag of sorts for Cleveland's season. The team is now seven games off the pace in the AL Central and part of the plan to win a division title involved finding a lot of value in Lowe's rotation spot. That hope is now gone, so it's time for the Tribe to look toward the future and hope that other pitchers won't disappoint as much in future seasons.
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- Derek Lowe