Lowe is Better, Proctor is Still …Proctor

Monday night at Joe Robbie, Land Shark, Dolphin, Sun Life – somebody please stop this naming madness – Derek Lowe finally won his seventh game and pitched 6 full innings for the first time since July 18th in Colorado. I’d love to report this is a similar return to form as the one we saw last September but, I can’t.Watching the early innings Lowe was obviously feeling for his command and in tight (high leverage) situations clearly pitching away from contact. Neither of these are traits of the in-form, confident pitcher we saw last year.

After the Braves scored three in a 2nd inning rally ignited by newly found dynamo Jose Constanza, Lowe had a 1-2-3 bottom of the inning and looked like settling down. The bottom of the third however included back-to-back-to singles by the pitcher (we can’t seem to get pitchers out lately) and top two men in the Marlins order. A walk forced in a run and left the bases loaded but a double play ended the inning and after an Alex Gonzalez 3-run homer –yes, he actually got a hit with men on base- Lowe had an easy time in the 5th and 6th. All of that sounds like a typical Derek Lowe outing. However this was a nearly neutered offense missing Hanley Ramirez, Logan Morrison and Omar Infante that had lost the previous four games. The victory will do his morale good but I fear stronger lineup would have brought a different result.

Highlights of the night besides Lowe, Constanza and the Alex Gonzalez homer included Dan Uggla extending his streak to 29 on an infield hit, Chipper Jones showing off a nicer looking left hand stroke to drive in a run on two hits and Cristhian Martinez throwing two solid innings of relief – well, except for a home run to Greg Dobbs. Then there was Scott Proctor.

Anyone who thought that Proctor’s scoreless outing against the Pirates was a positive sign should get their vision checked. Proctor continues to be a hittable fly ball pitcher who gives up runs when facing batters who aren’t exhausted. In spite of being used in mostly low leverage (0.80 avg.) situations since July 1st his pitching line is:

The 78 hitters he’s faced (5.2/inning) are a combined .344/.446/.639 with 4 homers. That their BAbip of .347 is almost equal to their .344 BA Is not good either. There are more numbers – like his RE24 (how many runs has he saved based on the situation) for that period at –7.99) but none of them good.

No one seems to care that he’s blown two saves, lost two other games, surrendered the lead in non-saved situations three times and allowed teams to increase their lead a half dozen times. He’s still here and they continue to send him out there. Surely there are better options in our pitching deep system; better pitchers than Proctor have been released this year. I’d have sent him packing this along time ago – in reality I would never have signed him in the first place . The question for the GM now is, with key starters starting to struggle and our big three rapidly building up innings, how long does he leave our bullpen a man short?