NEW YORK -- While Derek Lowe might be frustrated about some of the struggles that he's encountered during his first season in Atlanta, Braves general manager Frank Wren has no regrets about the four-year, $60 million contract he provided the veteran right-hander in January.
"We're very glad that we have him," Wren said. "He's pitched really well for us."
When the Braves provided Lowe this contract, they likely didn't envision seeing him post a 4.55 ERA during his first season as a part of their rotation. Over the course of the previous four seasons with the Dodgers, he had combined to post a 3.55 ERA and none of his seasonal marks exceeded 3.88.
But as they review the 36-year-old right-hander's season, they'll have reason to conclude that his numbers, like so many others in baseball, don't provide a clear indication of the value that he brought.
After notching his team-high 15th win against the Mets on Monday night, Lowe was open about the reality that he hasn't come close to being the club's best starter this year. Likewise, the fact that his 4.55 ERA is the worst posted by a member of the rotation doesn't necessarily mean that he hasn't made significant contributions while he's been on the mound.
"When you look at his day-by-days and looks at how well he's pitched, it's easy to focus on the bad starts," Wren said. "But he's had a lot of good starts."
Lowe had a horrendous start when he surrendered seven earned runs in just 2 1/3 innings against the Orioles on June 13. He also endured a horrific inning on Aug. 18, when the Mets ended his shutout bid with nine hits in an eight-run fourth.
But Lowe allowed three earned runs or more in just six of his 32 starts this season. Javier Vazquez has proven to be more impressive during his first season with Atlanta. But Vazquez has allowed more than three runs in six of his 30 starts.
"Fifteen wins is very difficult. We throw around numbers for starting pitchers," Wren said, "but I learned a long time ago, and we talk about it a lot in our scouts meetings, that having a 15-game winner is pretty doggone good."
After Monday night's win against the Mets, Lowe said that he's certainly looking to end this sometimes-frustrating season with more than 15 victories.
"I've got two more starts and if I can get to 17, for as bad as I've pitched, I think it would be a miracle to say I got that many wins," Lowe said.
Mark Bowman is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.