Lowey beats Oaxaca for 12th win, chasing pitching Triple Crown
Entering the Mexican League's 2016 season, Monclova pitcher Josh Lowey had one tough act to follow: His own 2015 campaign. Even with that burden, the 31-year-old Floridian has been outdoing himself this year.
Let's hit the rewind button and go back in time. Lowey was coming off a fair 2014 debut south of the border when he went 7-5 with a 4.11 ERA for the Acereros after kicking around for all or part of seven seasons pitching for independent teams (going 40-12 in three different leagues between 2011 and 2013). The 5'11" righty really came into his own in 2015, earning Pitcher of the Year honors after a 13-6 season
in which he tied Mexico City's Marco Duarte for the Liga high with 13 wins, finished second with 145 strikeouts and was fourth in ERA at 3.03 as Monclova went on in the postseason to advance to the Serie del Rey finals against eventual LMB champion Quintana Roo. How do you improve on a year like that?
If you're Josh Lowey, you start out your next season by winning 12 of your first 15 starts out the gate (including an 8-0 shared shutout at Monclova last Saturday) to lead the league in victories, topping the circuit with 123 strikeouts in 97.2 innings, registering an 0.92 WHIP that tops the charts and turning in an ERA of 1.66 that would lead the LMB under the age-old standard qualifier of innings pitched equaling the number of games played by a team. The Liga still lists Tijuana's Hector Ambriz as the current ERA leader at 1.23 in 9 starts even though Ambriz hasn't pitched an inning in over five weeks and his 58.2 innings fall short of the 71 games the Toros have played.
It wouldn't be the first time a league has played fast and loose with tradition and/or its own rules to achieve a desired result, but Lowey is on his way to pitching's Triple Crown in the Mexican League and a second straight POY award. Somehow, with a severe pitching shortage north of the border that has led to mound performances that would be shamed by a batting tee, not one MLB organization has ever signed Josh Lowey to even a minor league contract. Maybe it really IS who you know...
Among batters, Puebla catcher Cesar Tapia still leads the LMB with a .374 average, Quintana Roo third baseman Alex Liddi has taken the lead in homers with 18, Aguascalientes shortstop Diory Hernandez continues to head the RBI list with 75 and Saltillo outfielder Justin Greene's 22 stolen bases is best in the loop. Monclova closer Arcenio Leon is best among all closers with 25 saves.