Yankees-Rangers: Derek Lowe Impressive in Debut, Picks Up Save in 8-2 Win

Doug RushSenior Analyst IAugust 13, 2012

NEW YORK, NY - AUGUST 13:  Derek Lowe #34 of the New York Yankees pitches against the Texas Rangers at Yankee Stadium on August 13, 2012  in the Bronx borough of New York City.  (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)
Jim McIsaac/Getty Images

A lot of people were skeptical when the New York Yankees picked up Derek Lowe on Saturday.

He had been designated for assignment by the Cleveland Indians after he posted an 8-10 record with a 5.51 ERA in 21 starts this year.

Because of CC Sabathia landing on the DL for a second time with an elbow injury, plus the early struggles of Joba Chamberlain returning off the DL, the Yankees needed pitching insurance, and they got Lowe for the veteran's minimum.

The Indians are on the hook for $5 million of the $15 million owed to Lowe; the Braves are paying the remaining $10 million left on Lowe's deal, which is set to expire after the 2012 season.

In his first appearance for the Yankees on Monday night against the Texas Rangers, the 39-year-old veteran did not disappoint.

After David Phelps pitched the first five innings and allowed two runs on six hits, Lowe came into the game in the top of the sixth and shut down the Rangers' potent offense. Lowe pitched the final four innings of the game, allowed no runs on two hits and struck out four, picking up the save in the game.

Lowe looked like the pitcher who was very good for the Red Sox, Dodgers and Braves, and he even looked like the starter who went 6-1 with an ERA under three in the start of 2012.

He threw a lot of strikes and used his sinker/slider combination to generate outs, which has made him successful in his career.

His command of the strike zone was also very impressive, as he threw 44 pitches in the game; 33 of them were for strikes, which is a sensational ratio.

Of the 14 batters that Lowe faced, 11 of them had first-strike called on them, which gave Lowe a major advantage against the Texas hitters.

The Yankees trailed 2-0 until the bottom of the third inning, when Nick Swisher belted a grand slam off Ryan Dempster and gave the Bombers a 4-2 lead.

Phelps pitched well enough to win, throwing 78 strikes and striking out three, while keeping the Rangers' bats quiet after the second inning.

If New York can get more performances like the one it saw out of Lowe on Monday night, then the Yankees and GM Brian Cashman may have caught another steal this season. He could really give them a spark, whether he continues to pitch out of the bullpen or gets an occasional start.

So far, so good for Lowe pitching in the Bronx.

Stay tuned, Yankees Universe.