The Sports Daily > Firebrand AL

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.