Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Noah Lowry Coming Down With Steve Blass Disease?

Noah Lowry has been heading downhill in recent years anyway, but this is a new low. In his first spring training start of 2008, Lowry recorded 4 outs; he also walked 3, hit another, and threw two balls into the screen behind homeplate. That was his good start, however, as the Giants' lefty followed that up with a start versus Texas in which he gave up 4 runs on 9 walks, two wild pitches, and three more balls to the screen. On the bright side, he did keep the Rangers out of the hit column. A disaster of an outing even when it doesn't count.

Lowry's control fell off a cliff in '07. After walking a solid 3.34 pre nine innings in '05 and 3.17 in '06, his walk-rate shot up to 5.02 in '07. Coupled with a falling K rate (from 7.55 per nine to 4.75 and 5.02), Lowry is no longer the #2 pitcher he looked like as a 24 year-old. That he walked as many as he struck-out last year is a disturbing sign, but nothing could have prepared the Giants for this. If Barry Zito struggles, as he did in his last start, then the Giants' hopes - previously built on a strong rotation - are going to take a hit.
I remember Rick Ankeil falling apart on the mound, and I hope Lowry can figure things out soon, because he doesn't have a back-up career as a hitter (career .178 average). For now, his every appearance is going to be studied carefully by the Giants, even while it may be a kind of side-show for everyone else.

Edit: It seems Lowry has a minor wrist injury that may have contributed to his wildness. Hopefully he can heal up and come back and pitch effectively.

No comments: