The Cardinals right-hander is 8-2 with a 2.80 ERA and has allowed more than three earned runs in just two of his 17 starts this season. Against the Marlins, he is 2-0, giving up three runs over 14 2/3 innings of work against them, including an Opening Night win that saw Lohse carry a no-hitter into the seventh inning.
He has been even more impressive over the last month, notching five straight starts of at least seven innings. During that span, Lohse is 3-1 with a 1.98 ERA. He will aim to stretch that streak to six games on Saturday afternoon, when the Redbirds and Marlins continue their weekend series at Busch Stadium. St. Louis took Friday's opener, 3-2, in sweltering heat.
"I really know what I need to do to be successful," Lohse said after his last start. "I'm two years removed from surgery [on my forearm], and I feel like I know now what my arm is going to do and what it's capable of. The ability to go out there and hit my spots is something that's been able to keep me in the game. I go out there with a lot of confidence."
The Marlins will look to derail Lohse's confidence after coming up empty against the righty in two prior meetings this season, turning to right-hander Carlos Zambrano, who has fared well in St. Louis during his career, posting a 0.70 ERA over 38 2/3 innings.
However, after a hot start to the season, Zambrano has struggled the last month. He has been particularly plagued by walks during his last five outings, giving up 24 in his last 22 innings of work. With the temperature in St. Louis expected to be in the triple digits again, Zambrano will need to avoid walks and long innings if the Marlins hope to extend their win streak to four games.
"Keep your pitch count down and no long innings," Marlins pitching coach Randy St. Claire said. "You don't want to run into walks, and that kind of stuff. The more you stay out there, the more it takes out of you."
Marlins: Stanton expected to play Saturday
After missing the last four games to rest his sore right knee, right fielder Giancarlo Stanton has been cleared to return to the Marlins lineup. Stanton tested out his knee prior to Friday's opener by running the bases and fielding fly balls.
The 22-year-old slugger has "loose bodies" in his right knee and hopes to hold off on surgery until the offseason, so long as the Marlins are in playoff contention and he doesn't feel it will create further damage. The Marlins' lone All-Star also anticipates participating in Monday's Home Run Derby and Tuesday's All-Star Game in Kansas City.
Cardinals: Molina to miss Midsummer Classic
All-Star catcher Yadier Molina will miss next week's All-Star Game due to a death in the family, which caused the Cardinals to place the backstop on the bereavement list Friday. Molina is a four-time All-Star and was one of three catchers on the National League roster for Tuesday's Midsummer Classic.
Molina's spot on Tuesday's roster was given to teammate Matt Holiday, who was selected to the All-Star team by former St. Louis manager and NL skipper Tony La Russa.
Molina's absence from the All-Star Game leaves the NL with two catchers on the active roster: San Francisco's Buster Posey and Philadelphia's Carlos Ruiz.
Marlins center fielder Justin Ruggiano extended his hit streak to a career-high nine games on Friday.