Reds Face Tough One in Lohse


You can stop laughing now. The Cardinals starter for tonight’s Cards/Reds game is having a fantastic 2011 to date. As it always boils down to these days, look at Kyle Lohse and the magic he has spun thus far.

There are three issues the Reds must confront this evening in facing Lohse.

1. Lohse is unhittable when he’s on 5 days rest.

That will be the case tonight. His last start was on May 7 and he was the tough luck loser in a game against the Brewers. When Lohse exited after 6 innings, the Cards were only down 1-0. The Brewers went on to win that game 4-0 behind an excellent effort game by Yonvani Gallardo (8 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 4 BB, 6 SO). Here’s how Lohse fairs in the three games he has thrown in which he gets those 5 days.

For these 3 games, Lohse is 3-0 with a miniscule 0.38 ERA. He also carries a WHIP of 0.583 and a SO/BB ratio of 4.33 (13 SO and 3 BB). The opponents slash line for these: .136/.176/.148 with 0 HR. Also, his shortest outing is 7 innings.

2. Lohse has been superb away from Busch.

Lohse has also performed well on the road for the Redbirds going 3-0 with a 1.21 ERA and a WHIP of 0.761. Being on enemy turf has not flustered the veteran one bit. Again, his opponents slash line is impressive: .185/.205/.222 and 0 HR allowed. His SO/BB ratio is 6.50 (13 SO and 2 BB).

3. Reds must score plenty of runs (preferably early).

Yep. I’m being Capt. Obvious here. I say this for one primary reason. When the Cards score 6+ runs in Lohse’s appearances, his record is 3-0. When St. Louis scores 3-5 runs in such games, the Cards are 1-1. The magic number is 3, as in the numbers of runs the Reds pitchers must limit the Cards offense to this evening. And that 3 also represents Lohse’s ERA in the two games in which he has taken the loss.

But there is one other thing. Lohse has been clutch this season. The only time opponents have managed to hit over .200 against him is when the opposing team is leading (.231). In all other “clutch stats”, opponents are hitting below the Mendoza line. Plus, the game’s leadoff batter has never reached base against him in his 7 starts. Time to break this trend.

Here’s the breakdown of how Reds hitters have fared against Lohse…

First things first. You will notice that this does NOT include Scott Rolen as he has not been officially taken of the DL as of this writing. For the record, Rolen is 2-12 (.167) with HR and RBI in his career v. Lohse. The only other Red to take Lohse deep is Jay Bruce. But Lohse did surrender a pair of homers in his May 2nd outing against the Florida Marlins.

Also, for May (including his last outing), Lohse is 0-1 with a 3.86 ERA, 1.214 WHIP and a SO/BB ratio of only 1.00. Another possible silver lining is that St. Louis is 4-3 in games in which Lohse starts. But they are also 3-4 in games Bronson Arroyo starts, an don’t get me going about Arroyo’s last outing against the Cubs!

In looking at the above table, it will be interesting to see who will start in left field tonight. Jonny Gomes is a cool 0-5 with 3 SO against Lohse while Fred Lewis is 2-3 with only 1 SO.

Here’s hoping for a great start to the series. I can’t believe the amount of trash talking already…on Twitter, that is.