Globe iconLogin iconRecap iconSearch iconTickets icon
The Official Site of the Tampa Bay Rays
news

Rays News

'Step in right direction' for Lowe, Rays

Resilient rookie has homer and two RBIs one night after four-K game
May 26, 2019

CLEVELAND -- Brandon Lowe can see pitchers slowly making their adjustments. He’s seeing more breaking balls and offspeed pitches than ever before, a direct result of his success earlier this season. He also knows that he’ll continue to see a steady diet of the same if he’s not able to

CLEVELAND -- Brandon Lowe can see pitchers slowly making their adjustments.

He’s seeing more breaking balls and offspeed pitches than ever before, a direct result of his success earlier this season. He also knows that he’ll continue to see a steady diet of the same if he’s not able to consistently prove capable of hitting non-fastballs.

That reality likely added to a frustrating Friday night, a game in which Lowe went hitless and struck out four times, three on curveballs. One night later, however, the 24-year-old infielder exacted his revenge in the Rays’ 6-2 victory over the Indians at Progressive Field, demonstrating the type of resiliency any team would love to see from a rookie.

Box score

“There’s still more work to be done,” Lowe said. “But it was a pretty good step in the right direction.”

Lowe picked on a pair of Carlos Carrasco changeups and sparked the offense as the Rays powered their way to victory after a weather delay pushed the start time back two hours and 48 minutes. The left-handed hitter delivered an RBI double in the second and a solo homer in the sixth. The long ball was Lowe’s 11th of the campaign, lifting his season OPS to .894.

“He’s as good as anybody about staying consistent with his mind,” Rays manager Kevin Cash said of Lowe. “Obviously, yeah, he gets frustrated from Friday night, but it doesn’t carry over. He knows he’s a good hitter. He knows [that] when he gets some pitches to hit, more times than not, he’s caught them this year.”

Lowe said that he has recently worked on attacking breaking balls and offspeed pitches. That became necessary after he witnessed a 10 percent drop in opposing fastballs this month compared to April, a progression you might see after a young player begins to prove himself.

That game plan certainly makes sense, given that Lowe entered Saturday with a .629 slugging percentage on fastballs compared to .444 against breaking balls and .484 against offspeed.

“If you’re not going to challenge a guy with a fastball, you want to work around him with offspeed, you can take it [as a compliment],” Lowe said. “But they also know that’s what has gotten me out. We’re really working on everything to kind of figure out what to do next.”

His two extra-base hits against changeups certainly were a step in the right direction.

Additionally, both of his extra-base hits were classified as barrels, Statcast’s ideal combination of launch angle and exit velocity. The solid knocks lifted him into a second-place tie with Yandy Diaz for the most barrels on the club (16).

“He’s showed a lot of maturity, coupled with his talent,” said Rays starter Charlie Morton, who had a bounceback game of his own. His one-run, six-inning effort -- during which he struck out 10 -- came on the heels of allowing five runs, three earned, in just four innings in the Rays' 13-5 loss to the Yankees last Sunday.

“He’s just able to do everything, both sides of the ball,” Morton added. “He comes to the park every day. He goes out and plays his position. He steps in the box. He’s aggressive. You know, and you can’t ask for more than that from a younger guy. It’s impressive.”

Lowe’s night was backed by Ji-Man Choi and Tommy Pham, who slugged two-run homers off Carrasco.

“We had two at-bats in that game where we didn’t capitalize with a guy on third, less than two outs,” Cash said. “Those can be frustrating. That’s another way of showing resilience, that it wasn’t so demoralizing that the guys got frustrated and shut it down. They kept putting pressure on their pitcher.”