After two rough outings on the road, Boston starter Derek Lowe is glad to be back home.
Lowe to looks to rebound from a difficult road trip as the Red Sox and the defending World Series champion Anaheim Angels resume a three-game series at Fenway Park.
In his last start on Sunday, Lowe gave up season highs of eight runs—six earned—and 10 hits over four innings in a 9-8 loss to the Minnesota Twins at the Metrodome.
“We should have put six infielders and a few less outfielders out there so we could have caught a few of those ground balls,” Red Sox manager Grady Little said. “I’ve never seen so many ground balls go through for hits as I saw in the first few innings with Derek. That’s a tough-luck deal.”
However, Lowe was a little less forgiving of his effort.
“They added up to a lot of runs. Besides, there were ground balls, but they weren’t all ‘ground balls,”’ Lowe said. “There were some balls that were hit hard and they just happened to be on the ground. There’s a difference between a Dustan Mohr chopper on the plate and a Jacque Jones ground ball down the line. You can say they’re both ‘ground balls,’ but they’re not.”
The loss came six days after Lowe gave up five runs and seven hits in just 3 2-3 innings of the Red Sox’ 7-6 loss to the Royals.
Lowe, who has had a rough follow-up to his brilliant 2002 season, when he went 21-8 and finished third in the AL Cy Young voting, is 1-3 with an 11.57 ERA in five road starts.
But the right-hander boasts a 2-0 mark with an 0.95 ERA at home this year.
“Why the difference, it’s absolutely beyond me,” Lowe said of the startling disparity. “It’s very frustrating because you know you can do so much better in every outing.”
On Friday, the Red Sox had their three-game winning snapped, suffering a 6-5 loss to the Angels in the series opener.
The Red Sox led 4-0 after two innings, but Anaheim tied the game with two runs in the third and two in the fifth.
Brad Fullmer was 3-for-4 with an RBI double for Anaheim, which has won three of its last four games.
STANDINGS: Angels - 3rd place, 5 1/2 GB, AL West. Red Sox - 2nd place, 1 GB, AL East.
ANGELS PROBABLE STARTER: Jarrod Washburn (3-4, 3.79 ERA). On Sunday, Washburn gave up three earned runs and six hits over six innings in a 4-2 loss to the Toronto Blue Jays—his first setback in three starts. In four career starts against the Red Sox, the left-hander is 1-2 with a 4.63 ERA.
RED SOX PROBABLE STARTER: Derek Lowe (3-3, 6.53 ERA). Lowe is 2-3 with a 2.79 ERA in 19 career appearances, including three starts, against the Angels.
OFFENSIVE LEADERS: Angels - Fullmer, .345 avg.; Garret Anderson, 36 RBIs; Tim Salmon, 7 HRs; David Eckstein, 25 runs; Eric Owens, 8 SBs. Red Sox - Manny Ramirez, .329 avg.; Nomar Garciaparra, 7 HRs and 33 runs; Shea Hillenbrand, 32 RBIs; Johnny Damon, 10 SBs.
SEASON SERIES: Tied, 2-2.
STREAKS AND NOTES: Angels - 1B Scott Spiezio popped out in the second inning Friday, ending his streak of reaching base in nine consecutive plate appearances. Spiezio, who had five hits, three walks and was hit by pitch, fell three shy of Bobby Grich’s 1984 team record. … RF Salmon drew his 867th walk as an Angel Friday, breaking the club record held by Brian Downing. … SS Eckstein and LF Anderson are the only two Angels to have started all 40 games. Red Sox - SS Garciaparra extended his hitting streak to a major-league season-high 17 games with a first-inning single Friday. … CF Damon was caught stealing for the first time this season Friday after opening the year 10-for-10. … 1B Giambi, who missed three games with soreness in his left wrist, returned to the lineup Friday in the designated hitter spot.
ROAD/HOME RECORDS: Angels - 8-11 on the road; Red Sox - 14-5 at home.