Monday, July 22, 2013

Derek Lowe Retires

Over the weekend, Derek Lowe announced his retirement from baseball.  I will always fondly remember Lowe for his time with the Red Sox.  The right-hander pitched with the Red Sox from 1997 through 2004.  In that time he performed in a variety of roles.  He was a starter, a middle reliever/setup man, and a closer.  He was also fairly successful.  I have a number of fond memories of Derek Lowe.

I was up late watching Sportscenter waiting for the July 31 trading deadline to pass.  The Red Sox had played the Royals and I was listening to the game on the radio.  It was tied going into extra innings and Boston took the lead in the top of the 10th.  Heathcliff Slocumb came on to pitch and promptly blew the game.  At that point I did not care whether Slocumb would be traded or not.  Soon, he was.  For Jason Varitek and Derek Lowe.  That trade would turn out to be one of the greatest trades the Red Sox ever made.

Derek Lowe had been a setup man for the Red Sox in 1998 and in 1999 took over the closer role.  He would lead the league in saves in 2000 with 42 and made the first of two All Star games.

Not all of my memories of Lowe are good.  In 2001, Lowe blew a number of saves and soon lost his closer's role.  It started early in the season and he could not get going.  Ugueth Urbina was acquired and Lowe was put into the starting rotation.

Derek Lowe pitched a no-hitter against the Tampa Bay Devil Rays in 2002, the first no-hitter at Fenway Park since 1965.

Lowe pitched great in 2002, starting the All Star game, and finishing up the season with a 21-8 record and a 2.58 ERA.  He finished third in the Cy Young vote that year.

Lowe was a very impressive postseason performer.  He was tough on Cleveland in 1998 and he saved the deciding game against the A's in 2003.  Of course nothing compares to his performance in 2004 when he won the deciding games in all three postseason series.  In particular his Game 7 win against the Yankees in the ALCS was a truly gutsy performance.  He came back from two days rest and completely shut down the Yankees for six innings of one-hit ball.

Lowe was a favorite pitcher for his time in Boston, particularly in the postseason in 2004.  He was a free agent though after the season and bounced around a little bit.  Lowe will always be remembered for his time with Boston and he provided some fantastic moments.  Good luck Derek Lowe.

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