Rocked Card Lohse still in good graces
Posted: Wednesday, August 18, 2010 4:58 pm
By: By R.B. FALLSTROM, AP Sports Writer
ST. LOUIS (AP) — After getting smacked around in his comeback start, St. Louis Cardinals pitcher Kyle Lohse left Busch Stadium not knowing what was next.
The rough outing did nothing to wreck his standing with the Cardinals, who need the right-hander to get back in stride for the stretch drive.
“He did some good things and had some problems and stuff,” manager Tony La Russa said after Lohse was touched for seven runs in three innings in Sunday’s loss to the Chicago Cubs. “We’re confident in him, that’s why he got the ball.”
Lohse is 1-5 with an unsightly 6.79 ERA following his first outing since undergoing forearm surgery in late May.
He was a 15-game winner in 2008, and the Cardinals, who felt they were so short in pitching that they parted with outfielder Ryan Ludwick to acquire starter Jake Westbrook at the trade deadline, are hopeful he can regain that form.
The first time out, there was one positive sign. After failing to retire any of the five batters he faced in the six-run fourth, Lohse didn’t trudge off the mound holding his arm in pain.
“I’m back,” Lohse said. “It is what it is. I didn’t pitch very good and I’m waiting to get back out there.”
La Russa said earlier in the weekend that because the Cardinals have three days off in an eight-day stretch he would give everyone in the rotation two extra days’ rest.
Lohse took the place of rookie Jaime Garcia, who will pitch against the Brewers on Tuesday.
Lohse’s next outing likely will be Sunday against the Giants after a six-day break.
After dropping two of three to the Cubs over the weekend, the Cardinals fell one game behind the Reds in the NL Central.
They need positive outings from the starters beyond the top three in the rotation. St. Louis is 48-25 when Adam Wainwright (17-6, 1.99 earned run average), Chris Carpenter (13-4, 2.95) and Garcia (10-5, 2.71) pitch, but 17-26 otherwise.
That’s where Westbrook, who’s 1-0 with a 3.32 ERA in three starts, and Lohse come in. Jeff Suppan, eligible to come off the DL today from a groin injury, is a backup option.
At least, Lohse is healthy. He said he felt just as strong in the fourth inning of his outing as he had in the first.
Lohse trailed 2-1 after giving up a pair of homers to Derrek Lee, and then got knocked out in a rally that began with a bloop single by Marlon Byrd and a single by Xavier Nady between third and short.
“Then all hell broke loose after that,” Lohse said. “I just wasn’t good. I’ll gather myself and go back.”
The blowout was a chance for La Russa to give Albert Pujols and Matt Holliday a bit of a break, and he refused to second-guess the decision when the Cardinals made it interesting with a five-run ninth in a 9-7 loss. Felipe Lopez had a pinch-hit, two-run single in Pujols’ third slot. Randy Winn walked in Holliday’s cleanup spot.
La Russa also pointed out that the Cubs would have gone with closer Carlos Marmol a lot earlier if the game was tight.
“A ninth like that is a little bit misleading,” La Russa said. “You always run the risk of the at-bat coming up and you say, ’Where was Albert?’
“Normally it doesn’t turn out that well, but you forget the rally started because of guys like (Aaron) Miles, (Nick) Stavinoha, (Steven) Hill.”
Rookie Allen Craig made his first career start at third base in place of Lopez, who had been in a 2 for 32 slump. La Russa said Lopez would be back in the lineup tonight against the Brewers, and was noncommittal whether Craig, who made a fielding error on his lone chance, would start there again.
“It’s one of those moves you have to make, not because you want to make them,” he said. “But I don’t hesitate to make it because I really think this guy’s a gamer, a talented gamer.”