words // Nick Engvall
For the Boston Red Sox, the season began with such high expectations that it has been nearly impossible to live up to them. The BoSox started out with a 2-10 record that had critics second-guessing their pre-season predictions that had Boston playing deep into the post-season. There has been only a few bright points to the young season thus far, but one of them has been a key to turning the team’s slow start into a 3-game win streak.
Boston shortstop Jed Lowrie was part of last week’s lineup shake ups by manager Terry Francona. Lowrie has seen more playing time and at-bats since the changes, and is more than making the most of it. In the last week, Lowrie, who started only 2 of Boston’s first twelve games, has become a monster at the plate. Over the last week his batting average has skyrocketed to a season high of .516 (200 points above his closest teammate Dustin Pedroia). Over that 7-day stretch he has been gone 11-for-19 with 2 home runs, 9 runs batted in, and 7 runs scored. Aside from the obvious statistics though, the former Stanford Cardinal has been the much needed spark in the Red Sox offense that has seemed to be eluding them until this week.
On the mound, this week’s Player of the Week award goes to Los Angeles Angels right-hander Dan Haren. Haren, who was traded from the struggling Diamond Backs to the Angels last season, never seemed to fully feel comfortable in Los Angeles last season, despite being a Southern California native. This season however, is a completely different story. Haren is off to a 4-0 start, accounting for nearly half of the Angels 10 wins this season.
Over the last two starts, Haren has lowered his earned run average to an impressively low 1.16, which is second in the Major Leagues to only Oakland A’s pitcher Gio Gonzalez. Haren’s first complete game of the season came against the Cleveland Indians on last Tuesday, where he struck out 8 batters and allowed only 1 hit. The Angels hurler threw 6 1/3 innings later in the week against the Chicago White Sox, allowing just 2 runs for his league leading 4th win of the season.
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