Ailing Lohse falters as Cards fall
Familiar forearm discomfort leads to short outing for righty
ST. LOUIS -- Five days after channeling 2008, Kyle Lohse saw the specter of his maddening 2009 on Saturday.
Pitching on a day when his team needed a boost and his bullpen needed a rest, Lohse was hammered by the Angels, allowing six runs on seven hits in 3 1/3 innings, as the Cardinals lost, 10-7. Far worse than the result, though, was the cause. Lohse revealed after the game that he experienced a recurrence of the forearm discomfort that derailed his '09 season.
"[It's the] same sensation I was feeling last year," Lohse said. "It's frustrating, because I'll throw a pitch and it will feel OK, and then the next one, it's like a cramping sensation. We've got to try to get a better idea what's going on, because we can't let it get to the point where it was last year."
- 134 wins
- 118 wins
Lohse got off to a strong start in '09, carrying a 3.98 ERA into late May. But he was hit on his forearm by a pitch on May 23 against the Royals, and he was never quite right after that. He missed 5 1/2 weeks at the end of the first half due to the injury, and posted an ugly 5.43 ERA after he returned.
Saturday marked the first time this season, Lohse said, that he felt any significant discomfort in the area. He explained that he felt something amiss during his warmup, and that things got worse as the game progressed.
"I didn't really want to say much to [the coaching staff] until I came out, because I kept trying to battle through it," Lohse said. "It was pretty obvious it wasn't working out the way it was. It's pretty apparent when you're out there throwing the ball like I was today, you're not helping the team. We've just got to figure out what's going on."
Lohse will undergo an MRI exam on Monday, after which he and the club will have a clearer view of their course of action going forward. In the meantime, it's obvious that it's not good for the club, especially coming on the same day that Brad Penny was placed on the disabled list due to a strained right lat muscle.
"I don't want to take any time off," Lohse said. "I want to get out there every five days. That's the way I've been. It's just frustrating. I don't want it to turn into the way it was last year in the second half, where every outing was a battle to try to figure out what we are working with today. So we'll see."
Meanwhile, after a promising beginning, the Cardinals' offense went into a slumber against lefty Scott Kazmir and didn't awaken until the game was out of hand.
They could have raked Kazmir, though, and it might not have mattered. Lohse wasn't right, and it cost the Cards. It was the fourth time in nine starts that he was charged with five or more runs, and the fifth time he's given up four or more. However, Lohse insisted that this was the first time he had been physically compromised while pitching this season.
Not that Lohse's teammates fared all that much better. Trever Miller surrendered a two-run homer in relief, and P.J. Walters was reached for two runs in the eighth. Meanwhile, the St. Louis offense was held to three hits over seven innings against Kazmir.
Matt Holliday homered, and the Cards turned two walks into two runs in the second, but Kazmir retired 17 straight from the second into the seventh. He entered the game with a 6.51 ERA, but had little trouble after the early innings.
"That's the way he can pitch," said Los Angeles manager Mike Scioscia. "He has the potential to pitch that way every time out. He had good stuff -- good sliders, good fastball command in and out. A good game, overall."
The Cards rallied to score five runs in the final three innings, but it was too little, too late. Manager Tony La Russa had removed several of his regulars, so when the lineup turned around to the heart of the order in the ninth, St. Louis' most dangerous hitters were out of the game.
With the loss, the Cardinals fell to 4-2 on their current homestand.
Matthew Leach is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.