Note of the night/Stat of the day, April 10
Note of the night: On just about any other day, Kyle Lohse would have been the hero of my game story. He was simply outstanding, allowing virtually no hard contact through the first six innings. His stuff was strong, his command was excellent. It was a superbly pitched game.
However, when a team scores as many runs in one game as it had in any previous two games, the story is the offense. So Lohse was relegated to second-fiddle status in the game story. Here on the blog, though, a little tip of the cap to Lohse.
When asked about the difference between now and when he was compromised physically, Lohse always points to command. He’s able to locate the ball much more than he was before. But it shows in his stuff, as well. His sinker was particularly impressive on Sunday, moving not only down but left-to-right.
“That’s [the] spin,” he said. “I might have been able to throw it 90 [mph] or whatever it was the last couple years, but there’s a difference between finishing a pitch and just kind of putting it out there and not being able to finish it. I might not have the sinker that you see as huge, but it’s late. That’s part of it and that’s part of why I’m encouraged the way I am right now, is I’m able to do that.”
Dave Duncan also pointed to the late movement on Lohse’s sinker. It’s one way you get weak groundballs, and that’s something that Lohse got plenty of on Sunday.
Lohse stopped short of saying that he can have another year like 2008, but he didn’t rule it out. And while I still think a fairer expectation is for him to return to the slightly less impressive form he showed for most of his career before ’08, I wouldn’t entirely rule out another ’08 either. One thing that’s sometimes forgotten: before Lohse got hurt in ’09, he was off to a very strong start. He had a 3.98 ERA when he first injured his forearm.
Again, it would be somewhat silly to predict a repeat of a guy’s career year. But it would probably also be silly to rule it out.
Stat of the day: The Cardinals are 14th in the National League in batting average, 14th in OBP and 16th in SLG, but they have the third-most walks in the league and the fewest strikeouts.