Lost amongst the flurry of transactions this past week, the Jed Lowrie era in Flushing has come to a seemingly unceremonious conclusion. So, let’s take a look at the Mets tenure of the man, the myth, the le..the myth, that is now “former Mets great” Jed Lowrie.
In 2019, as pitchers and catchers were preparing to report to spring training, the Mets capped off Brodie Van Wagenen’s first offseason as the team’s General Manager by signing infielder Jed Lowrie, who was coming off an All-Star season with the Oakland A’s. At the time, the move was met with mixed reviews. Some thought the acquisition added some needed depth to the lineup, while others thought that it was too much of an investment for a potential backup piece. I was amongst the former, as I thought that Lowrie’s ability to play all over the infield would enable the starters to get regular rest while also providing a proven backup play for inevitable injuries.
And then, as it turned out, it was Lowrie himself who was injured. Very injured, apparently. So injured, that despite signing in the middle of January, he didn’t make his Mets regular season debut until September 7th. In fact, Lowrie’s injuries carried through to 2020 and he did not appear in a game all season.
Instead of thinking about what could have been, however, let’s take a look at what was. Here is a breakdown of every Jed Lowrie plate appearance in a Mets uniform. It’s the least we could do…
September 7th, Mets vs. Phillies – With the Mets down 5-0 in the bottom of the 4th, Lowrie was called upon to pinch hit for staring pitcher Marcus Stroman. Lowrie stepped up to the plate to make his Mets debut with runners on first and second and one out. Facing tough lefty Drew Smyly, Lowrie appeared overmatched and struck out, putting a significant dent in the Mets comeback attempt. The Mets would go on to lose by that 5-0 score.
September 8th, Mets vs. Phillies – In a back and forth affair, the Mets found themselves down 10-7 heading into the bottom of the 9th. Amed Rosario led off the frame with a single. Manager Mickey Callaway called on Lowrie to pinch hit for reliever Jeurys Familia, and keep the rally going. Standing in his way (albeit by a distance of 60 feet 6 inches) was Phillies closer, Hector Neris, in the midst of his best season in the majors. Figures. Lowrie proceeded to have what was arguably his most intense at-bat in his entire career in the orange & blue, a 9-pitch contest full of fastballs and splitters. He worked it to a full count. Sadly, there was no joy in Flushing that day, as mighty Lowrie struck out. The Mets went on to lose by that 10-7 score.
September 11, Mets vs. Diamondbacks – The Mets were leading 7-0 when Lowrie pinch hit for starting pitcher Steven Matz in the bottom of the 6th inning. Some might think that with a lead like that, a single AB with the game about 2/3 done wouldn’t mean much. Don’t tell that to Jed Lowrie though. He came to the plate determined to make an impact. However, after taking a first pitch strike from D’Backs reliever Yoshihisa Hirano, Lowrie grounded to the shortstop for a 6-3 putout. Improvements were made, as he put the ball in play, but the results remained the same.
September 13, Mets vs. Dodgers – The Mets were down 7-1, but something was brewing in the bottom of the 7th. One out, bases loaded, and reliever Luis Avilan was due to step up to the plate against Dodgers started Clayton Kershaw. Obviously that wouldn’t work. Callaway pointed his finger at Jed Lowrie, as if to say “you’re the guy who’s going to get us back into this one.” Lowrie accepted his assignment with his usual sense of determination. Dodgers manager Dave Roberts knew better though, and he pulled Kershaw in favor of Joe Kelly. Not to be outdone, Callaway made a move of his own, subbing in Brandon Nimmo for Lowrie. We will never know what Lowrie would have done against either Kershaw or Kelly, but Nimmo grounded into a fielder’s choice with the runner being thrown out at home.
September 16, Mets @ Rockies – It doesn’t get much more exciting than this – 9th inning, the Mets were down by 5, and they needed a spark. Wait, I know what you’re thinking, “Down by 5, that’s not exciting.” Keep in mind, this was Colorado, where a 5-run lead is akin to a 1-run lead in most other ballparks. Jairo Diaz was pitching for the Rockies. Edwin Diaz was scheduled to lead off for the Mets, but Jed Lowrie was chosen to take his place, meaning a Diaz vs. Diaz matchup would have to wait for another game. Meanwhile, all Lowrie was asked to do was get on base, and get on base he did! Jairo Diaz wanted no part of the talented Mets infielder-turned-pinch hitter, as he walked him on four fastballs. Diaz may contend that those pitches were close, but those watching, including home plate umpire Ryan Blakney, will forever believe otherwise. Lowrie’s walk was followed by a single, but that was all that the Mets had in them, and three batters later they found themselves on the losing end of a 9-4 ballgame. Spoiler alert: This was the last time that Jed Lowrie would play in a Mets loss.
September 20, Mets @ Reds – While this 8-1 Mets win will mostly be remembered for Pete Alonso’s 50th home run of his rookie campaign, it was Jed Lowrie’s foul out to left with the bases loaded that sent the game to the bottom of the 9th, inching the Mets closer to their eventual victory. Sure, some RBIs would have been nice for Lowrie’s stats, but they had already scored 3 runs in the top of the 9th, so they didn’t need it.
September 22, Mets @ Reds – In the rubber match of a 3-game series, the Mets were leading 5-2 in the top of the 7th. Amed Rosario led off against Reds starter Trevor Bauer with a single. Lowrie then pinch hit for eventual winning pitcher, Brad Brach. Lowrie was able to take the future NL Cy Young Award winner Bauer to a 3-2 count. With Rosario running on the pitch, Lowrie took a two-seam fastball for the third strike, although thankfully Rosario was safe at second. The Mets would go on to win the game 6-3, their 81st win of the season, guaranteeing that their 2019 season would not be a losing one.
September 24, Mets vs. Marlins – Back at home now, the Mets were still holding on to postseason hopes. Mets pitcher Noah Syndergaard did not get off to one of his best starts in this one, and by the time he was due up for his second turn at bat, the team was down 4-0. With two outs and nobody on, Jed Lowrie pinch hit for Thor against Marlins youngster, Sandy Alcantara. Sure, Alcantara led NL pitchers with 14 losses that season, but on this night, he looked like the prospect everyone thought he could be. Lowrie was just another Alcantara casualty, as it took five pitches to strike him out swinging. While Lowrie’s only AB in this one was unsuccessful, a clutch 9th-inning home run by Michael Conforto tied the game at 4, and an 11th-inning walk by Todd Frazier brought home the game-winner. Surely, as the Mets were celebrating this exciting outcome, they were happy that Jed Lowrie was right there with them.
September 29, Mets vs. Braves – The final game of the Mets 2019 season will go down in team history as Dominic Smith’s miracle home run, possibly the most exciting ending to a Mets regular season. This historic moment could not have happened, however, had Jed Lowrie come through in his lone opportunity in the 9th. With the score tied at 4, Lowrie pinch hit for reliever Daniel Zamora with 2 outs and nobody on. Facing the Braves crafty veteran reliever, Mark Melancon, Lowrie took a mean swing on a second-pitch cutter and lined out to third. Two innings later, Dominic Smith sent the Citi Field faithful home happy with a dramatic three-run homer. If the fans knew then what they know now, that this would be Jed Lowrie’s last time playing for this team, that celebration may have been tempered some.
Jed Lowrie’s time with the Mets went by too quickly. He was more than the 29th player in franchise history to wear #4, he was a symbol of those 2019 Mets, a team full of grit and determination just to play, even if in the end they fell a bit short of bigger dreams. No doubt that Lowrie had expected to be a greater contributor to the Mets than injuries allowed him to be. He may not have gotten a single solitary base hit during his Mets tenure, but he was a hit in Queens. I’m sure that most Mets fans wish him nothing but the best in his return to Oakland (his 3rd stint with the A’s) and all other future endeavors.
Meanwhile, the Mets will have to hope that the recent acquisitions of infielders Francisco Lindor and Jonathan Villar will take away some of the sting.