Red Right 88

In Cleveland, hope dies last

Thanks for the memories, Derek

The Cleveland Indians finally realized what fans have known since June 1 – Derek Lowe is no longer a major league pitcher.

The team designated the 39-year-old Lowe for assignment following his latest poor outing, Tuesday night’s effort in Kansas City where Lowe gave up seven runs and eight hits in 2.1 innings of work. That continued a streak that has seen Lowe go 2-9 with an 8.28 ERA in his last 13 starts.

“It’s frustrating,” Lowe said after his start against the Royals. “You have a standard of what I’ve pitched like and this, this is not what you’re used to doing. But, it’s reality.”

After starting the season 6-1 with an American League best ERA of 2.05, Lowe fell off a cliff. He went 1-3 in June with a 6.49 ERA (opposing batters hit .317 off of him in the month) and followed that up with a July record of 1-4 with a 10.03 ERA and a .363 batting average against.

“If you want to talk about a tale of two months, from the first two to where we are right now, it couldn’t be any further,” Lowe said. “It’s frustrating. You have a standard of what I’ve pitched like and this, this is not what you’re used to doing. But, it’s reality. You can’t sugarcoat it, and you can’t sit here and say you’ve been pitching good and got a few bad breaks, because that’d just be a lie. That’s where we are.”

According to The Boston Globe, Lowe will return to his Florida home to work with his personal trainer with the hopes of being picked up by another team.

Lowe’s spot in the rotation will be filled by rookie right-hander Corey Kluber, who was scheduled to start Thursday night’s game against the Royals. Kluber was 11-7 with a 3.59 ERA in 21 starts for Columbus.

The move with Lowe really shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone, as Lowe went 4-10 with a 6.20 ERA after the All-Star break last season with Atlanta, which is why the Braves were willing to pay $10 million of his $15 million salary this year when they traded him to Cleveland. In the post-steroid era, 39-year-old pitchers generally don’t have the ability to make 30 quality starts.

While it’s frustrating the reality is, if the Indians are going to bring in a pitcher from outside the organization, it is going to be on the kind of deal they gave Lowe. The Tribe is not shelling out $21 million for Cliff Lee; they have to gamble on starters who will work cheap. Sometimes you get a Kevin Millwood, who posted a 2.86 ERA in 2005; more often you get a Lowe.

Despite his poor showing over the past two months, Lowe leaves the team as the co-leader in wins with eight. That pretty much tells you all you need to know about why the Indians entered Thursday night’s game in third place, seven games out of first.

Indian fever, baby. Catch it.

(Photo by The Associated Press)

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