Before the 2013 season began, a lot of fans, myself included, were highly skeptical of the deal the Milwaukee Brewers made with veteran starting pitcher Kyle Lohse. Now that we’re heading into the latter half of August and really the season at this point, Lohse has literally thrown away the skepticism to become the best pitcher in the rotation.
Is this a performance that Lohse can keep up heading into next year?
In the two seasons prior to 2013, Lohse had absolutely been dominating with the St. Louis Cardinals, putting up career highs and lows in every category across the board. The Brewers have had experiences before where they signed an ex-Cardinal that did well in St. Louis, but completely lost focus on how to pitch in Milwaukee, namely Jeff Suppan. Now in this instance, Milwaukee fans were a little gun-shy on signing the 34 year-old Lohse because of losing a draft pick and not knowing how he would fare. Well for three-years, $33 million, the Brew Crew faithful were hoping he would deliver, and so far he has.
The loss of the first round draft pick fell by the wayside soon because the Brewers have drafted players who weren’t first rounders that turned out well like Tyler Thornburg, Hunter Morris and Jimmy Nelson. Lohse started off his 2013 campaign on a strong note with an ERA of 2.53 and a deceptive 1-2 record after the month of April. However, May was a different story (as it really was for the rest of the team) where Lohse had a bloated ERA of 6.51 and four losses.
Since May, Lohse has been on a warpath out on the mound, having an ERA of 2.41 with seven wins and only two losses since the beginning of June. Lohse has been tremendous this season and he’s easily proving to be one the Brewers’ best signings in a long time. In a rotation that faced so much mystery this season, Lohse has emerged as the front runner and just seems to be getting stronger in each outing.
Last season may have been the best of Lohse’s career where he posted a career-low ERA of 2.86 and had 211 innings pitched with a 16-3 record. Comparing that season to this current one is pretty unfair, where Lohse sits at an even 8-8 record, which honestly you can’t blame him for. Three of Lohse’s losses this season came in games where he gave up two earned runs or less and there were eight instances in which he received a no-decision when giving up two or less earned runs. Offense plays a big role into a pitcher’s win-loss record, but the pitcher will have an accountability as well.
While Lohse doesn’t exactly have the pinpoint numbers of last season, he’s still been the best starter in Milwaukee’s rotation in 2013. Even then, his numbers are only off minimally from 2012 and at some point, it’s just nitpicking by saying that Lohse isn’t as good as his previous season. The matter of the fact is he leads the Milwaukee starters this season with an ERA of 3.17, an opponent’s batting average of .248 , a WHIP of 1.15 and has 15 quality starts.
It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out how well Lohse has performed this season and if May had been better, his numbers would be very similar to 2012’s. Lately, Lohse fortunately hasn’t been alone in the quality starts from the rotation as Wily Peralta and Thornburg have chipped in. For the next two years, Lohse will be at the front of this rotation and why not, he’s definitely earned it.
Stats courtesy of FanGraphs.