I guess that’s about the best we could have hoped for. Lowe went out every fifth day and gave the Braves league-average pitching, which with the Braves’ offense and relief pitching was enough to win more than they lost. It wasn’t worth $15 million, but in the current market, it was worth $10 million, maybe. He saw a rebound in his strikeout rate, from a very borderline 5.1 per nine in 2009 to 6.3, which is about what he averaged in 2007-08, and helped him go from allowing a .301 batting average to .271.
Unlike Hanson, Lowe got a lot of support, at least early in the season before Chipper and Prado got hurt and the offense went to pot, and went 16-12. He might have won twenty if Bobby had gotten him out of there sooner; he had a 9.00 ERA in the sixth inning, and several times lost leads, or saw baserunners he allowed score off of relievers to lose them.
And then, as the team was collapsing, he pitched much better, going 5-0 with a 1.12 ERA in September and October, plus two strong starts with nothing to show for it against the Giants in postseason. He basically metamorphosed into Greg Maddux and stopped walking anyone, allowing just three bases on balls in 30 2/3 innings, while striking out 29. They probably would have missed the playoffs without him. I don’t really have any explanation for it, as this goes beyond getting your sinker working to being a different person. Suffice it to say, I don’t think that it’s sustainable.
Derek Lowe Statistics