Lowe shows staying power
When the possibility of dealing free-agent-to-be Derek Lowe was raised Saturday, Dodgers General Manager Ned Colletti replied with a single word: “No.”
Lowe added an exclamation point to Colletti’s response later in the evening at Dodger Stadium, as he held the Washington Nationals to a single hit over eight innings and lifted the Dodgers to a 6-0 victory that marked Casey Blake’s debut.
Acquired in the morning from the Cleveland Indians for a couple of minor leaguers, Blake was two for three with a double and run, helping the Dodgers stay within a game of first-place Arizona in the NL West.
“That was great to get the first hit out of the way,” Blake said.
While Blake was making his grand entrance, Lowe was doing what he could to ensure a triumphant exit, should his four-year run with the Dodgers come to an end after the season.
Lowe (8-8) said he wanted to remain a Dodger through the season.
“Absolutely,” he said. “Any time you sign up for something, you want to finish it. I’ve said this numerous times, that I consider my tenure here a failure. We haven’t won one playoff game. I would love to get the opportunity to win a couple of series and get to the World Series.”
Only two Nationals players reached base while Lowe was on the mound: Ronnie Belliard, who doubled in the fourth, and Austin Kearns, who walked later that inning.
“He looked like he had movement all over the place,” Dodgers Manager Joe Torre said. “It looked like they didn’t get many good swings on him. His at-bats were pretty darn good too.”
The reference was to Lowe’s two-for-three night that included an RBI single in fourth inning.
Lowe said he was drawing on lessons learned in 2004, when he was facing the prospect of free agency for the first time as a member of the Boston Red Sox.
He said he understands why his name pops up in trade rumors, but that he doesn’t let them weigh on him.
And he learned something about this time of the year.
“It’s not the time to be heroes and pitch complete games,” Lowe said. “It’s time to win games.”
Which is why Lowe said that when Torre asked him if he wanted to pitch the ninth inning, he said no. Lowe’s next scheduled start is Thursday, when the Dodgers open a four-game series against the Diamondbacks. The opposing pitcher that day will be Brandon Webb.
“I’d rather save the 15-20 pitches,” Lowe said. “I understand where my next start is.”
The night was far less pleasant for Nationals starter Odalis Perez, who was back in Dodger Stadium for the first time since the Dodgers traded him to Kansas City in 2006. Perez (3-8) was pounded for six runs and eight hits in four innings.
“Too anxious,” Perez said. “I wanted to come out there and beat them.”
The first three Dodgers to face Perez scored in a first inning that included a two-run home run by Matt Kemp.
Nomar Garciaparra led off a three-run fourth inning with his fifth home run. Blake followed with a double to left and scored on a double by Angel Berroa, who scored on a single by Lowe.