09/11/2002 6:15 pm ET
MLBeat: Lowe in Cy Young race
By Paul C. Smith / MLB.com
ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. -- Derek Lowe said he enjoys being in a Cy Young race, but believes that teammate Pedro Martinez has an edge over himself and A's lefty Barry Zito.
"If all the other things are equal, I would think that the voters would vote for the guys they know, like they did with (Roger) Clemens last year," Lowe said. "Both of us (Lowe and Zito) would have to really distinguish ourselves over the last four starts. And I wouldn't say that I'm standing out too much right now."
Lowe enjoyed talking to the Boston beat writers before the game with the Rays on Wednesday, especially when he found out they vote for the major awards.
"I've never been a part of (a Cy Young race), so I have no idea what basis the voters use to decide," Lowe said.
If Lowe, who is 19-7 with a 2.45 ERA, does win the award, he would be quite happy but he might not be any richer.
"All my (contract) bonuses are for relief appearances. There are no starter incentives," Lowe said. "It was a couple of years ago and my agent even asked if I wanted to put starter incentives in there. I said there was no way I was going to start again. Who knew?"
Lowe could get three or four more starts this season and not miss any time because of his five-game suspension for his part in the brawl with Baltimore.
Lowe said he will start again on Saturday and then drop his appeal of the suspension, which is scheduled to be heard on Sept. 18.
Because of the doubleheader on Monday against Cleveland at Fenway, the Red Sox will play five games in four days and Lowe will pitch in his regular spot.
Lowe said he does expect to be fined for being ejected on Monday night against the Rays.
He and Grady Little were tossed at the start of the seventh inning after Lowe hit Felix Escalona for the second time in the game.
Boston was ahead 4-3 at the time and that put the potential tying run on base with no one out.
But home-plate umpire Jerry Crawford said, because of the history between the teams, that he was instructed to be stringent.
Lowe said he did not intentionally throw at Escalona, claiming that the pitch got away from him.
"If we all knew where the ball was going every time, we would never give up a hit or a run," Lowe said.
Notes: Little said he was still excited about infielder Freddy Sanchez's Major League debut on Tuesday night. "He came up for his very first at-bat with the bases loaded and he got a hit," Little said. "That's one of the greatest things in the world."
Little said he didn't know if Mike Port had called the league office about the hit-batter situation but expected things to be the same on Wednesday night with Martinez pitching.
Cliff Floyd's knees were bothering him on Tuesday night because of the FieldTurf at Tropicana Field. Floyd switched shoes, from long spikes to more of a cushioned running shoe in the sixth inning. "He hit pretty well in both," Little said.
Fantasy Edge: Because of the controlled conditions, Tim Wakefield's knuckleball floats flawlessly indoors. He is 5-1 with three saves against the Rays overall and his ERA at Tropicana Field is 0.98, He should shut the Rays down easily on Thursday afternoon.
Paul C. Smith is a reporter for MLB.com and is based in Tampa. He can be reached at email@example.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.