Lowe proves he still has something left

April, 20, 2013
4/20/13
11:11
PM CT
ARLINGTON, Texas -- So that's the reason 39-year-old pitcher Derek Lowe made the Rangers out of spring training.

For night's like Saturday, when the Rangers needed a long man out of the bullpen because their rookie starter got drilled by a line drive in the wrist.

Maybe that's not the exact script, but Saturday night was all about Lowe, who gave the Rangers four hitless innings in a superb performance that keyed a 5-0 victory over the Seattle Mariners. Lowe was forced into action when rookie Nick Tepesch had a line drive scrape off his right wrist, forcing him out of the game for precautionary reasons.

Enter Lowe, who needed 31 pitches to get through four innings. It was vintage Lowe, the one who has racked up 176 victories because of a devastating sinker that has made him one of the premier ground-ball pitchers in baseball.

"I liked it," Lowe said of his sinker. "It put a smile on my face."

Of the 12 outs he recorded, nine of them came on ground balls. The only Mariners hitter who reached against Lowe was Kendrys Morales, who was hit by a pitch to start the fourth inning. Lowe quickly erased that with a double-play ball. He and catcher A.J. Pierzynski took advantage of an aggressive Mariners lineup.

"We certainly needed it," Washington said. "He had a good sinker working tonight. He was moving the ball up and down. It was just an outstanding job, especially when we were just trying to hold onto a one-run lead."

With the Rangers continuing to struggle offensively, Lowe had to be sharp. Pierzynski gave the Rangers a 1-0 lead with a one-out home run in the bottom of the fourth. Lowe made the run stand up, getting the first two batters he faced in the top of the sixth before Washington went to the bullpen for left-handed reliever Joe Ortiz.

Ortiz, Tanner Scheppers and Jason Frasor all had to work around baserunners, but they were able to finish off the Rangers' second consecutive shutout. The Rangers have 21 consecutive scoreless innings heading into Sunday afternoon's game.

"They proved that they have a heartbeat," Washington said of Ortiz and Scheppers. "It's not easy at the major league level. That's a good challenge for them."

Low showed he has a heartbeat, too. The Rangers signed him late, so he didn't begin spring training until early March. He gave up a three-run home run to Rick Ankiel in his debut in the season opener on March 31. He pitched an inning on April 10 before going 2⅔ innings Thursday in Chicago.

Lowe was back at it Saturday, proving he can handle the layoff in between appearances.

"That's where a veteran player understands this, where a young guy gets kind of antsy," Lowe said. "I understand I have to be prepared every day. That's something I've always taken pride in my whole career, is show up every day, work hard and expect to play that day. That's what makes it a little bit easier being 39 years old, you don't get discouraged when you don't pitch in eight or nine days."

SPONSORED HEADLINES

Comments

You must be signed in to post a comment

Already have an account?

103.3 FM ESPN PODCASTS

Fitzsimmons and Durrett: Jon Daniels

Rangers GM Jon Daniels joins Fitzsimmons and Durrett to tackle the tough questions after his team failed to advance to the playoffs.

Galloway & Company: Nolan Ryan

Nolan Ryan joins Galloway and Company to discuss having Nelson Cruz back in the lineup and how the Rangers are feeling heading into their wild-card play-in game against the Rays.

Fitzsimmons & Durrett: Jim Bowden

ESPN Insider and senior MLB analyst Jim Bowden joins Fitzsimmons and Durrett to discuss the wild-card race and the Rangers' chances of making the playoffs.

Fitzsimmons and Durrett: Chuck Cooperstein

Chuck Cooperstein joins Ian Fitzsimmons and Tim MacMahon to discuss why he feels Rangers pitcher Yu Darvish isn't an ace.

Galloway & Company: Elvis Andrus

Elvis Andrus joins Galloway and Company to discuss the Rangers' stretch run and the morale level in their clubhouse.

Galloway & Company: Nolan Ryan

Nolan Ryan joins Galloway and Company to discuss the latest Rangers news, including the team's struggles, Ron Washington's job security and a rumored trade with the Braves.

Fitzsimmons & Durrett: Ron Washington

Ron Washington joins Ian Fitzsimmons and Tim MacMahon to discuss the Rangers' dismal September, who's to blame for their September struggles and his status as the team's manager.

Fitzsimmons & Durrett: Fire Wash?

Fitzsimmons and Durrett discuss how some people are calling for the Rangers to fire manager Ron Washington.

TEAM LEADERS

BA LEADER
Leonys Martin
BA HR RBI R
.322 1 9 4
OTHER LEADERS
HRP. Fielder 2
RBIA. Rios 10
RE. Andrus 12
OPSS. Choo .891
WM. Perez 3
ERAY. Darvish 0.82
SOY. Darvish 23