Every time he steps on the mound, Kyle Lohse strives for perfection. He came up just short on Wednesday night, missing throwing a perfect game by only one inning, seven hits, two home runs, and three earned runs.
Lohse has, for the most part, had an excellent season bouncing back from surgery. Perhaps best-known this year for his uncanny resemblance to manager Tony La Russa…
Kyle has gone 7-4 this year with a sterling 2.91 ERA. The numbers don’t show, however, that he’s struggled a bit recently. In his last four starts, he’s gone 0-2 with a 5.47 ERA. Hopefully he’s just going through a rough stretch rather than regressing from the progress he’s made.
The Cardinals fell to the Phillies once again on Wednesday, this time losing 4-0. The Cardinals are now 2-9 in their last 11 games and are struggling to regain their footing. In a season filled with injuries to several key players, the Cardinals will have to lean on every piece of their lineup and bullpen.
In fairness, any team that loses its ace in the pre-season, its second-best hitter for nearly a month, its starting third baseman for two months, and now its best hitter for the foreseeable future, is going to struggle.
There are reinforcements coming, though. Reports indicate that David Freese, out since May 1, will return next week to the Cardinals after completing a week-long rehab stint in Memphis. Time will tell if Freese is brittle or simply unlucky, but his bat will be welcomed back with open arms. Cardinals third basemen are batting .216 (41 for 189) without Freese with just two home runs and 22 RBI.
Less-heralded is the return of Nick Punto, but no less welcome. Punto is a top-tier defenseman at three infield spots, but he’s done decently at the plate, driving in 11 runs in just 65 AB. Punto’s on a rehab assignment as well, but his return should be coming up soon.
The loss of Allen Craig just before Pujols’ injury was unfortunate, as Craig was mashing at the plate (.336, 4 HR, 23 RBI in 107 AB). He should be back before Albert, but not for another 2-3 weeks at the earliest.
BTW, this is just a personal gut feeling, but I think Albert will be back before the projected 6-8 weeks. Albert’s been a fast healer, and he knows his body better than anybody else. The question is whether he’ll truly be the force he’s used to being.
St. Louis also made a move to change up its bullpen, granting Miguel Batista his unconditional release. Batista started the season strong and had an ERA of 0.56 through May 11, and as recently as June 9, his ERA was 2.28. Then came the infamous implosion in Washington, and things have deteriorated from there. At his release, Batista was 3-2 with a 4.60 ERA. He was effective at times, but he walked more batters (19) than he struck out (16), and his WHIP was 1.568. To replace him on the roster, the Cardinals brought up Lance Lynn, who aside from one bad inning has pitched very well for the Cardinals in the two games he’s started for them. Lynn will be the innings man in the bullpen for now, but the idea of putting him in the rotation and moving Kyle McClellan to the ‘pen has been tossed around.
In short, don’t abandon hope yet. The Birds are going through a rough patch, but it will fade.
I just hope it’s sooner than later.