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Detroit Tigers: Mark Lowe’s Quietly Strong Second Half

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Aug 2, 2016; Detroit, MI, USA; Detroit Tigers catcher James McCann (34) and relief pitcher Mark Lowe (21) celebrate after the game against the Chicago White Sox at Comerica Park. Detroit won 11-5. Mandatory Credit: Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports
Aug 2, 2016; Detroit, MI, USA; Detroit Tigers catcher James McCann (34) and relief pitcher Mark Lowe (21) celebrate after the game against the Chicago White Sox at Comerica Park. Detroit won 11-5. Mandatory Credit: Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports /
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Detroit Tigers general manager Al Avila improved the bullpen in the offseason by acquiring, Francisco Rodriguez, Justin Wilson and Mark Lowe. Lowe struggled early, but has been dependable as of late.

Detroit Tigers reliever Mark Lowe didn’t get off to the best start with his new team, posting a 10.29 ERA.

Unfortunately, that 10.29 ERA came in 32 appearances from April 6th to July 8th. That’s a significant stretch for a reliever to struggle.

What’s more, the ex-Mariner put up a -0.7 WAR. Admittedly, he was victimized by a .352 BABIP, but he still allowed a team-high 3.14 home runs per nine innings—not to mention a 1.85 WHIP.

All told, here is Lowe’s stat line from the first half: 28.2 innings pitched, 10.05 ERA, 7.25 FIP, 5.23 xFIP, 4.40 SIERA, 7.53 strikeouts per nine innings and a 1.85 WHIP.

Because of those struggles, Lowe didn’t pitch in the key innings he was meant to. This meant pitching mainly in blowouts.

Detroit Tigers
Jul 29, 2016; Detroit, MI, USA; (EDITORS NOTE: Multiple Exposure Image) Detroit Tigers relief pitcher Mark Lowe (21) pitches in the eighth inning against the Houston Astros at Comerica Park. Mandatory Credit: Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports /

However, despite not pitching in key situations, the reliever has rebounded. The 33-year-old has quietly turned in a solid second half.

Second-Half Turnaround

Lowe’s ERA dropped to 2.37, as did a number of his other run prevention numbers. The lefty showed marked improvements in posting a 3.61 FIP, a 4.18 xFIP and a 3.70 SIERA. In fact, his SIERA is lower than a number of prominent relievers around the league.

These include Pittsburgh closer Tony Watson and Miami closer A.J. Ramos—not to mention Tigers teammates Francisco Rodriguez, Justin Wilson and Alex Wilson.

What’s more, on Detroit’s staff, only Bruce Rondon owns a higher strikeout per nine inning rate than Lowe among qualified pitchers.

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Lowe’s second half numbers look like this: 19 innings pitched, 2.37 ERA, 3.61 FIP, 4.18 xFIP, 3.70 SIERA, 10.42 strikeouts per nine innings and a 1.16 WHIP.

Despite mainly pitching in blowouts, the longtime reliever has shown extremely well in recent games. Over his last six outings he allowed just six baserunners and no runs. Over the same span, he struck out eight.

There is the fact that Lowe is benefiting from a .239 BABIP in the second half, but there is no denying the fact that he’s throwing the baseball much better in the second half.

Impact Moving Forward

With the season winding down, Lowe likely doesn’t have the time to fully work his way back into the mix for pitching in the eighth inning.

Next: Bryan Morris Could Help Tigers Bullpen

However, should he continue his fine runs of form into next season, the Detroit Tigers bullpen will be in excellent shape.

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