Looking at the best starting pitching in the AL so far in 2012 Cleveland Indians' Derek Lowe holds his own with top tier names like the Detroit Tigers' Justin Verlander and Seattle Mariners' Felix Hernandez. Through eight starts, Lowe boasts a 6-1 record and 2.05 ERA. Lowe pitched a complete-game shutout against the Minnesota Twins on Tuesday, May 15, thrusting the starter's early success into the Cleveland media spotlight.
Derek Lowe's early success with the Cleveland Indians surprises many. The Indians acquired Lowe during the offseason in a trade with the Atlanta Braves. Given last year the starter yielded a career-low 9-17 record, the acquisition didn't wrestle up too much excitement around Cleveland. Heck, Lowe's 17 losses topped the NL League Leaders chart.
Personally, I recalled thinking, "Lowe also led the NL in starts so he had the most opportunities to lose." Now, admittedly, I came up with this notion half-jokingly, desperate to find a positive spin on the trade.
Fast forwarding and returning to mid-May, a question arises. Can Derek Lowe go the entire season pitching so well? MLB.com columnist Anthony Castrovince posted a great piece on the Cleveland Indians website Thursday, May 17 exploring the issue.
By talking to Derek, Lowe Castrovince discovered what plagued the starter last year in Atlanta, writing "Lowe instead points to two factors -- a lighter frame that fatigued and the absence of an effective sinker."
To counter the weight factor, Castrovince notes Lowe packed on 20 pounds. Regarding the effectiveness of the sinker, us Clevelanders can testify to the pitch's current efficiency.
From the fan perspective, another factor I believe worth mentioning involves Derek Lowe's teammates, specifically first baseman Casey Kotchman, third baseman Jack Hannahan, and shortstop Asdrubal Cabrera. With Kotchman and Hannahan manning first and third opposing hitters become hard pressed to sneak anything past the baselines. Not to be outdone, Cabrera's defensive resume features a highlight reel of awesome glove work.
Simply put, any baseball purist should enjoy watching a ground ball-inducing pitcher like Derek Lowe take the field with defensively wealthy infielders such as the ones the Cleveland Indians possess. Bottom line, with a working sinker and solid defenders behind him, Lowe appears likely to continue shining.
Zachary Fenell fell in love with the Cleveland Indians during the 1995 season when the Tribe powered their way to the organization's first World Series appearance since 1954. While the Indians lost some allure since the 1990s you will still find Zachary watching the games on TV, listening to them on the radio, or best yet taking in a game from the stands at Progressive Field.
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