Could Lowe be warming up for the Rays?

by Gary Shelton on June 12, 2021

in general

Lowe has struggled for the Rays. / CHUCK MULLER

Saturday, 4 a.m.

Hey, didn't you used to be Brandon Lowe? And didn't you used to be a big deal?

Lowe, one of the major offensive players for the Rays during last year's regular season, has been among the worst players in the American League this season, so bad that you wondered how long the Rays might stick with him.

Until Friday night, when Lowe gave you a reason to think "maybe." Lowe had two hits and a homer off left-handed pitching and drove home three runs in a 4-2 Rays' win over the Baltimore Orioles at Tropicana Field.

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Lowe came into the game hitting .188, and only .063 against lefties. His average was the second lowest in the American League; his 76 strikeouts were the third most. He had only one home run in his lsat 16 gamess. With two outs and runners in scoring position, his .040 average was the lowest in the major leagues.

A year ago, Lowe hit .300 against lefties.

The Rays, then, have to hope that Friday night was the start of something better. The team is painted into a corner with Lowe; he can help out if he's even a bit better, but he'd be hard to trade from the bench. So the Rays have stuck with him.

“I think it can mean a lot," said Rays' manager Kevin Cash. "He’s kind of worn it on his sleeve. He's suffered through some tough at-bats, some tough luck. He needs some balls to fall for him. A lot of hitters do. When times are tough, those little things can help you feel better about your swing, about yourself. I think Brandon recognized some things mechanically and tried to make some subtle adjustments. I think he felt he was in a better spot today.

"“We have all the confidence in the world in Brandon, and Brandon has a lot of confidence in himself. This game is tough. When the results are not coming easily, it’s easy to have that doubt creep in. You’ve got to be tough minded, and Brandon is, but you’ve got to have teammates who support you and staff that continues to show the confidence that we have in him. He’s a big part of our team. The last thing we’re going to do is run from him.”

Lowe suggested that a tweak to his approach on Wednesday left him feeling better at the plate. Good that he could join the party on a Rays' team that is playing well.

"I don’t think anyone is surprised of what’s going on right now," Lowe said. "This is expected and this is who we are."

The Rays got a second straight solid start from Ryan Yarbrough, who went six innings and gave up only two unearned runs on a two-run homer by Trey Mancini. That blow came after Yarbrough's error in the third inning.

The Rays got three hitless, shutout innings from relievers Andrew Kittredge, J.P. Feyereisen and Pete Fairbanks.

The Rays play the Orioles at Tropicana Field again today at 4:10 p.m. Rich Hill will start for the Rays against Jorge Lopez.

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