BALTIMORE -- Mark Lowe pitched the eighth inning in the Rangers' 14-3 victory over the Orioles on Monday night. It was his eighth appearance of the season and his first in a game in which the Rangers won since an 18-3 victory over Boston on April 17.
The scoreless inning dropped his ERA to 1.00, the 11th lowest in the American League among relievers. Gone are any concerns the Rangers may or may not have had about Lowe during Spring Training.
"I had a 4.00 ERA in the desert. ... I thought I threw the ball pretty well except for one or two outings," Lowe said. "I feel like I have been throwing the ball well for a while. It started in the last two or three outings of the spring and carried over into the season. I'm getting ahead of the hitters, and when I'm not ahead I'm able to make a pitch that's not necessarily a fastball. I'm throwing offspeed pitches for strikes, and then I'm able to make another pitch and get an out."
He has the second lowest ERA on the Rangers' staff, but he does not have the most prominent role out of the bullpen. Most of the time it has been as a middle reliever when the Rangers are behind, or when they are way ahead.
"It's probably the hardest of everything I've ever done," Lowe said. "You have to put yourself in a different mental situation. If you view yourself as a mopup guy, your execution is not going to be as good. It's tough to stay fresh when you're not out there every day. It's tough, but that's baseball. If you look at the arms that are coming out of our bullpen, that's probably the way it's going to be."
Rangers relievers had a combined 2.02 ERA going into Tuesday's game against the Orioles. That was the second lowest in the Major Leagues, and there are many teams that could use Lowe in a more prominent role.
"You can't think about that stuff," Lowe said. "I'm a free agent at the end of the season and I'd love to stay here. But you're never guaranteed of anything. You can't take anything for granted. I've had enough injuries to know that anything can happen. I'm just happy to be pitching well, healthy and on a winning team."