Blue Jays-Indians Preview

The Associated Press

Derek Lowe knows his miserable finish to last season was one reason why he ended up with the Cleveland Indians.

The veteran right-hander will try to put those woes behind him in his first start for an AL team in eight years as Cleveland tries to salvage the finale of its season-opening series with the Toronto Blue Jays on Sunday.

Lowe failed to record double-digit victories for the first time in a decade in 2011 when he went 0-5 with an 8.75 ERA in September for Atlanta. Those performances played a role in the Braves blowing an 8 1/2-game lead over St. Louis in the wild-card race.

In response, Atlanta sent Lowe and $10 million to Cleveland for minor league pitcher Chris Jones on Oct. 31. Lowe began his career with Seattle in 1997, was dealt to Boston later that season, left for the Los Angeles Dodgers in 2005 and signed a four-year contract with Atlanta in 2009.

"Let's be honest, if I went 17-9 (instead of 9-17), I'd still be there," he told the Indians' website. "I think it was the combination of the six weeks I had (down the stretch) and they have five guys ready for the big leagues."

Lowe spent his time in spring training working on his mechanics, especially on his sinker, and is hoping that will help him add to his 166 career wins.

"We feel he can bounce back and he feels the same way," manager Manny Acta said. "We're going to make every effort possible to put him in that situation."

Lowe will try to help Cleveland bounce back from a pair of extra-inning defeats to start the season. The Indians (0-2) blew a three-run lead in the ninth Thursday during the longest opening day game in major league history, a 7-4 loss in 16 innings.

Rajai Davis' two-run double highlighted the Blue Jays' four-run 12th inning in a 7-4 victory Saturday. Cleveland had forced extra innings thanks to Asdrubal Cabrera's solo homer in the ninth.

"It's definitely a grind, but winning makes it all worth it," said Toronto's Brett Lawrie, who ended Ubaldo Jimenez's no-hit bid with a two-run single in the seventh. "You get to extra innings and it was a dogfight. You just have to win it, and we did."

In his first major league start, Joel Carreno will try to help the Blue Jays match their best start since opening 3-0 in 1996 and post their sixth straight win over Cleveland.

The right-hander, who had a 1.15 ERA over 11 appearances for Toronto in 2011, was promoted from Double-A New Hampshire on Tuesday partly because of Dustin McGowan's plantar fasciitis and Brett Cecil's struggles on the mound.

"I have to do a good job," Carreno told the Blue Jays' website. "I don't (want) to make them think, 'He has to go back to the minor leagues.' So I have to do the best I can do here."

While Carreno faces Cleveland for the first time, Lowe makes his first appearance against Toronto since May 23, 2009. He's 4-4 with a 4.65 ERA in 10 starts versus the Blue Jays.

The Indians haven't dropped three straight to open a season since beginning 0-5 in 2009.

What to Read Next