Kyle Lohse: Brewers Season in Review


Aug 8, 2014; Milwaukee, WI, USA; Milwaukee Brewers pitcher Kyle Lohse (26) pitches in the first inning against the Los Angeles Dodgers at Miller Park. Mandatory Credit: Benny Sieu-USA TODAY Sports

Starting Pitcher

2014 Contract: $11 million
2015 Contract: $11 million


When the Milwaukee Brewers signed pitcher Kyle Lohse in late March 2013, they were hoping for a starter that could take the ball 30-33 times a season and pitch around 200 innings.

They got just that.

Lohse started 31 games and pitched 198 innings for the Brewers, performing well in the middle year of his three-year contract. He led the Brewers in complete games and shutouts (two), starter’s WHIP (1.150), and K/W ratio (3.13). Mike Fiers had better numbers in the last two categories, but pitched 1/3 of the innings that Lohse did.

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The 36-year-old right hander started off hot, going 4-1 with a 2.70 ERA in six March/April starts, mirroring the Brewers turbocharged launch from the blocks. He kept up his pace in May, winning both decisions in five starts.

After his 3-1 June, Lohse was on pace for 18 wins as he cruised into July with a 9-2 record and a 3.08 ERA.

The veteran was hoping for his first All-Star game selection, but a pair of losses in early July sealed his fate and kept him from pitching at Target Field on July 15. He won his next two starts to improve to 11-4, although he got roughed up in his 4-2 win over Washington. He gave up ten hits in seven innings, but only allowed one run.

Lohse lost a 2-1 decision to Tampa Bay to end the month, dropping his record to 11-5.

The dog days of August caught up to Lohse, as he went 0-2 with a no-decision to start the month. The 9-7 loss on August 2 at St. Louis was arguably his worst start of the season, as he got hammered in four innings, giving up nine hits and seven earned runs.

His next start against Los Angeles was solid (6 IP, 6 H, 1 ER) and he left with a 2-1 lead, but the bullpen blew it in the seventh to give the Dodgers a 3-2 lead. Lohse missed out on a chance for his twelfth victory although the Brewers did come back for a 9-3 win.

Only one of his final three starts in August was decent and it showed as he won one of the three decisions, matching the team’s sluggish performance in the penultimate month of the season.

Lohse pitched four times in September, winning one of two to finish the season at 13-9.

His former team–St. Louis–remained his nemesis, as Lohse went 0-2 in four games in which the Brewers won only once. Unfortunately, they lost three games when they really needed victories–August and September. In two years after he left St. Louis, Lohse has struggled to a 1-5 mark against his former mates.

2015 and Beyond

With the emergence of Wily Peralta as the staff ace, Lohse is not expected to be the king of the hill as his career winds down. He fits in comfortably anywhere from #2 to #4, along with Yovani Gallardo and Matt Garza.

As stated earlier, he will be in the final year of his three-year deal with the Brewers. It is hard to say how many more years he has left, but his style of pitching leads me to believe he could pitch for another 3-4 years. One caveat, though–Scott Boras is Lohse’s agent, and he seldom, if ever, gives ‘home-town’ discounts.

Next season will determine his future–obviously–but I’m not sure if Doug Melvin and Mark Attanasio have learned any lessons about signing older pitchers to long-term contracts at the tag-end of their career (see Suppan, Jeff).

On the other hand, Lohse is better at this point than Suppan maybe ever was, so that might not be a fair argument.

At the very worst, the Brewers have Lohse for one more year and hopefully it can be at least as good as the first two. Time will tell, but if the stars align, Lohse could play for Milwaukee beyond 2015.