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The Sports Daily > Firebrand AL
Regression

With 37,000 plus patrons at Fenway Park on their collective feet and millions of fans throughout Red Sox Nation ready to celebrate one of those special Fenway Park moments, a walk-off win topped with a post-season berth celebration, Jed Lowrie strode to the plate. Down 4-3 to the Indians, with men on second and third, the Red Sox were down to their final out in the ninth.
Throughout his first season with the Red Sox, Jed Lowrie’s been invaluable to this franchise. His ability to play both positions on the left side of the infield at a high level defensively, coupled with his flexibility in the lineup have filled gaps that the Red Sox had limited other answers for within their organization.
While Lowrie’s season has been wrought with some of the inconsistency at the plate that you would expect from a rookie, one place he’s certainly excelled is as a run producer. With fourty-four RBI in 282 plate appearances this season, Lowrie’s produced twelve more RBI’s than the average major league player.
While much of that difference can be accounted for in the twenty-eight more runners that have been on base in scoring position ahead of him, a .303 average and .902 OPS with runners in scoring position have proven that Jed Lowrie deserved to keep the role of starting shortstop on this team when (and if) the incumbent Julio Lugo returned.
In that same position last night, Lowrie was easily over matched by Jensen Lewis on three straight pitches. His strike out to end the game, quelled a rising anticipation of celebration, at least for one more night. More concerning however, it brought one word to mind, “regression”.
While Jed’s overall numbers are fair for a rookie adjusting to the game at the Major League level, .266/.350/.414, they are a far cry from the mid-.280 hitter with .800 plus OPS potential we were getting used to seeing as an anchor of a deep and suddenly threatening bottom of the batting order.
As recently as August 17th, Lowrie had his average at .319 and was drawing comparisons as this year’s Dustin Pedroia or Jacoby Ellsbury as the rookie who kept it all together down the stretch run and into the playoffs as a major contributor to a World Series title.
But while Pedroia, whose average last year on the same August date sat at .324 hit a strong .299 coming home to finish the season at .317, and Ellsbury, who didn’t even get his real chance until September where he hit a mere .361, excelled down the stretch, Lowrie has in fact regressed.
Since hitting that high water mark of .319, Lowrie’s performance at the plate has been more similar to the man he replaced Julio Lugo and the man batting behind him in the order Jason Varitek.
Over his past 129 plate appearances, Lowrie’s hit .200 with a .314 slugging percentage with 34 strike outs.
While I am still a firm believer that Lowrie gives the Red Sox a better chance to win than Julio Lugo or Alex Cora (to steal from Bill Simmons, I just threw up a little in my mouth), you have to admit that there is suddenly a huge hole in the bottom of the order where the artist formerly known as Jed Lowrie used to be.

Comments

  1. Like I said…unless the pythag is truly on our side or Boston gets a fire lit under its collective ass, Tampa and/or LA is going to mop the floor with us.

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  2. Everyone slumps, he could just be tired as he's really never had to play this many games and with the Lowell injury he's in there every day at short or third

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  3. First, someone reassure me that we are going to wrap this up before the Yankees come to town will ya'?
    Second, what has struck me is that Lowrie is getting himself out a lot. He seems to be chasing pitches out of the zone a fair amount and for a guy who has a rep of being knowledgable of the strike zone that is very frustrating.

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  4. I'll cut Lowrie some slack since he's brand new and a slump was expected. However this is just really bad timing when all we need is one win to seal the deal for the playoffs.
    That being said I'm still in doubt mode over AL East dominion but I guess that just makes it a greater challenge for Boston to ready itself for against LA. We've gotten through bullshit before and we can do it again.

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  5. Jc:
    Lowrie's .343 BABIP is pretty high, but keep in mind that he does still have a 24.6 line-drive percentage. So, his eBABIP is actually .366, meaning he's been a tad unlucky overall.

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  6. I think Lowrie needs to be a little more aggressive right now. I like the fact that he has a great eye or is very patient but it seems that other teams have gotten the memo on that and he is getting behind on counts. Rookies are rarely going to get close calls and I see him take too many pitches that are an inch or two off the plate…especially with two strikes. I think if teams are aware that he is going to work counts he needs to come out expecting pitchers trying to get ahead early and drive the ball. Eventually he can get back to being more patient but I think a more aggressive approach would suit him well at this point in time.

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  7. Like many have said above, Lowrie is a rookie, and it's too early too talk about regression. But he is certainly in a slump and in the worst possible moment.
    In any case, knowing Lowrie is in a slump, why Tito didnt pinch hit for him in the ninth?

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  8. Most likely, it's the league catching up with Lowrie. They know his tendencies, and the holes in his swing. Now it's up to him to adjust. Chances are, he will — but maybe not this year.
    The bigger concern for me is that with Lowrie and Varitek struggling, and Lowell and Drew on the shelf, the productive part of the Sox lineup has gotten a lot shorter. Combine that with the fact that they have a lot less power to go with their high OBAs — and you get a lot of guys left on base. Their pitching and defense will have to carry them in the playoffs, especially given the higher quality of postseason pitching.

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