The Boston Red Sox are 2-6 in August and tonight begin a four game series against the Cleveland Indians at Progressive Field.
Last week, the Tribe gave both outfielder Johnny Damon and pitcher Derek Lowe their walking papers. Damon and Lowe, of course, were an integral part of the “Idiots” who helped Boston win its first World Series in 86 years back in 2004. Lowe departed for Los Angeles after the 2004 season. After spending four seasons in a Dodger uniform, Lowe joined the Braves in 2009 and pitched in Atlanta for three seasons before being dealt to the Tribe last Halloween. Damon left Beantown for the Bronx after the 2005 season becoming a reviled figure at Fenway. After four seasons in pinstripes, Damon has played with the Tigers, Rays and Indians over the past three seasons. Although the Red Sox enter tonight a mediocre 55-57 they are not out of the AL Wild Card hunt at 5½ games back of the Orioles, Tigers and A’s. I think the Red Sox could use a couple of idiots.
Of course both Damon and Lowe are past their prime. Damon, 38, struggled hitting only .222 with 4 homeruns and 19 RBI in 64 games with Cleveland. But Damon needn’t be an everyday player to make a contribution. He could spell Carl Crawford in left field one or two days a week and could also be part of the Sox revolving door of DHs since “Big Papi” David Ortiz is still on the DL. With both Daniel Nava and Ryan Sweeney on the DL and with Ryan Kalish not hitting, the Red Sox risk little in signing Damon for the last month and a half of the season.
Lowe actually got off to a good start in 2012 going 6-1 with a 2.05 ERA in his first eight starts. But between May 20th and July 31st, Lowe went 2-9 with a 5.52 ERA. For his part, the 39-year old Lowe is receptive to returning to the Red Sox. With Josh Beckett and Jon Lester struggling and Felix Doubront’s innings accumulating and Clay Buchholz the most consistent starter with an ERA near 4.50, Lowe could be of help down the stretch.
I realize that Damon and Lowe are a short term solution. But if nothing else, the return of Damon and Lowe would help lighten the mood in the Red Sox clubhouse which has not been a fun place to be this season. No, the Red Sox can’t live like its 2004 but they also have to find a way to put the debacle of 2011 behind them.