Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Pujols FINALLY Gets To D-Lowe

The St. Louis Cardinals have always owned Derek Lowe - OK, everyone but perhaps superstar Albert Pujols. As I told a few friends and family over the weekend, I had a VERY bad feeling about this game for Lowe and the Dodgers. I told them that I think Pujols is long "overdue to have a good game against D-Lowe." Coming into last night's game pitting the Los Angeles Dodgers and St. Louis Cardinals, Pujols was only hitting .235 in 17 career at bats against Lowe with no home runs. Overdue, you bet!

With a 1-5 career record, a 5.24 ERA, 1.63 WHIP and a .325 batting average allowed in six career starts against the St. Louis Cardinals, it was clear going into tonight's game that Lowe was going to have his work cut out for him. The good news for him was that Rick Ankiel and his career .500 batting average against was out of the starting lineup again for the Cards. Unfortunately for the Dodgers, known "Lowe killers" Ryan Ludwick (.571), Adam Kennedy (.379), Yadier Molina (.308) and Troy Glaus (.300) were all in tonight's starting lineup for the Cards. The writing was certainly on the wall...

Lowe and the Dodgers though got off to a quick start tonight, taking a 2-1 lead after two innings thanks to Manny Ramirez's third home run in four days, and an Angel Berroa run-scoring triple. Ramirez would score Matt Kemp with a single in the third inning to give the Dodgers a 3-1 lead. Lowe gave up four hits in the first two innings, so he was already looking shaky, but got bailed out by overanxious Cards newcomer Felipe Lopez in the bottom of the second. Lopez tried to score from second on a Cesar Izturis single with two out in the second inning, but was cut down easily at the plate to thwart the rally... A Pujols double, a Ludwick single, a Glaus single and a Molina single in the third quickly tied things at 3-3.

Things went from bad to worse for Lowe in the fourth inning. Opposing pitcher Joel Piniero opened it with a single, Izturis followed with a one out single, and then Kennedy singled. The bases were now loaded and Mr. Pujols was coming to the plate. You probably can guess what happened. Pujols unloaded on a fastball, driving it high and deep into the left field stands for a grand slam. Ludwick followed with a home run of his own and Lowe's night was done for. The carnage: 3 1/3 innings pitched, 13 hits allowed, eight earned runs allowed - the kind of performance that can severely hurt your fantasy team... The Dodgers would try to rally, but it would come up short as they would lose 9-6.

As for Pujols, he certainly got well quickly against Lowe and now owns a robust .350 career average against him with his 3-for-3 effort tonight. He also walked in the sixth inning and added a fourth hit in the 8th inning to complete his perfect night at the plate. With the 4-for-4 hitting barrage, Pujols upped his batting average to .352 on the season.

Being an owner of Lowe in four of my five most important fantasy baseball leagues, I'd ordinarily be very upset about his poor start and how it negatively affected all of my fantasy teams... But, it didn't affect me in the slightest as I had the foresight to bench him in EVERY ONE OF MY LEAGUES this week! Yes, I dodged a BIG bullet!


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