Closing Time: Salad days for Jed Lowrie

<a class="link rapid-noclick-resp" href="/mlb/players/8200/" data-ylk="slk:Jed Lowrie">Jed Lowrie</a>’s left-handed swing has been sweet all season (AP)
Jed Lowrie’s left-handed swing has been sweet all season (AP)

The Athletics like to roll out a different lineup on most days, but Jed Lowrie has been one of the constants, settling into the No. 3 spot. And why not? Lowrie has a .332/.373/.539 slash in that role. He reached base four times in Thursday’s 8-7 win over the Yankees.

Lowrie doesn’t run at this stage of his career, but he’s on pace for some tasty numbers — 56 doubles, 106 runs scored, 20 homers. His overall slash is .296/.365/.502, and he makes regular contact in a strikeout world.

Is it a fool’s errand to think about on-pace numbers with a player like Lowrie? He’s one of the more injury-prone players in the game. Last year, it was foot surgery and a shin contusion. In 2015, it was a nagging quad and a busted thumb. He’s made it past 340 at-bats just twice in 10 pro seasons.

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Perhaps this explains why Lowrie is owned in just 22 percent of Yahoo leagues, despite his strong production. Maybe everyone’s waiting for the other cleat to drop.

In the meantime, if you have the ability to play the center cut of Lowrie’s game, you’re going to get some fun numbers. He has a .935 OPS against right-handed pitching, and a 1.015 OPS at home games (it might be a dump, but it’s Oakland’s dump, dammit). The A’s are on an extended homestand, and six of the next seven games come against right-handed pitching. If there’s any time to be in on Lowrie, it’s right now.

• At what point will the Dodgers make a firm commitment to Chris Taylor? He’s certainly been a fantasy godsend — a .303/.392/.515 line, with four positions of eligibility. Three’s also plenty of category juice — eight homers, seven steals in 51 games. He was all over the field, and the bases, in the Cleveland series (five hits, two walks).

Manager Dave Roberts is another one of those managers who gets cute with the lineup card. You never know where you’re going to see Taylor in the lineup. He’s batted leadoff 10 times, third on four occasions, fifth in seven starts, and sixth for 12 games. Heck, in the last eight games, Taylor has manned four different lineup slots.

At least they keep writing the name in. And with Adrian Gonzalez back on the DL, the team can use its best lineup, which has Cody Bellinger at first and Taylor in left field. You should have made the therapeutic drop on Gonzalez weeks ago. Taylor is your reliable jack-of-all-trades.

• Given what a lousy year it’s been for fantasy catchers, Thursday was a difficult day. Two of the elite backstops — Gary Sanchez and Buster Posey — went down with injuries.

Neither guy is expected to be down long, though we’re curious what Friday’s news cycle brings. Sanchez has a groin injury, considered minor, and Posey insist his left-ankle injury won’t be a major problem. The timing is especially pesky with Posey, as the Giants just settled in for a four-game series at Colorado. Posey had a single, double, and homer in Thursday’s loss, while Sanchez had three hits at Oakland.

In leagues where you can make unlimited daily moves, perhaps you can dial up Nick Hundley as a temporary rental. He certainly knows his way around Coors Field. Or heck, you could stick in Colorado and take a chance on Tom Murphy. He’s finally back from his broken wrist; he went 0-for-4 Thursday. Murphy is owned in just 14 percent of Yahoo leagues.

• The Cardinals didn’t get a win against Milwaukee, but maybe the top of the St. Louis lineup is about to go off. Matt Carpenter had a pair of doubles, and two runs scored, while Dexter Fowler singled and homered. Carpenter has a .315/.383/.611 slash this month, while Fowler is at .283/.389/.543. Both players have three June home runs.

With Fowler, all he probably needs is some good health. His shoulder was a problem for the first quarter of the year. And you wonder if Carpenter’s mind is clearer in the leadoff spot. He’s hitting .429 in the ignitor role this year (nine games), and his career slash there is .297/.389/.492. Carpenter’s current .268 BABIP is one of the flukes of the year; he has the best hard-hit rate of his career.

Not that I expect you’ll get them for a silly price, but now could be a good time to ask, in a round-about way, about that Carpenter or Fowler trade.

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