Though he can occasionally fill in for Mike Lowell at third, Lowrie will be primarily competing for at bats and starts at short with Nick Green (who can also play third or second). Julio Lugo, on the other hand, was told by Epstein to pack up and leave over the weekend (and wait 10 days to be traded or released). And to both mens' credit, the decision was handled with class and with no bitterness towards one another.
With Lugo still set to make about $13.5 million for the rest of ’09 and all of 2010 as part of the four-year deal he agreed to with the Sox starting in 2007, he really doesn’t have much to cry about anyway. I, for that matter bear no ill will toward the shortstop either, even though I disapproved of Epstein’s decision to bring him to Boston in the first place. The man tried his best but clearly, he was exactly what I thought he was, average offensively and below average defensively. It was good enough however, to earn a World Series ring 2007. I just never understood what the Sox front office saw in him, other than occasional power and some speed on the bases.
Surely that speed paid off for his most memorable Sox moment, the “Mother’s Day Miracle” 6-5 win vs. Baltimore from May 13, 2007, where, after a weak ground ball, his speed from the batter's box to first helped force the game-deciding error that brought the two winning runs home with two outs, to cap a six-run bottom of the ninth inning. But injuries last season and to start this season, along with his subpar play and the emergence of Nick Green and presence of a healthy Jed Lowrie spelled doom for Lugo here, despite his big contract. I wish him good luck with his next team.
Speaking of below average, the Red Sox offense has gone from just good enough before the break to mediocre to start the second half. Of course, the Sox have run into some great pitching this month from Seattle to Oakland and now Toronto, capped by Roy Halladay’s complete game victory over the Sox Sunday. And in the three-game series this past weekend in Toronto, the Sox batted .188, with only six hits in each game and seven runs scored total.