The Rangers are rolling the dice on a veteran pitcher in a time of need.
With all the injuries to the starting rotation, plus the inability of younger pitchers to make a statement, righty Kyle Lohse is expected to get the start against the Twins Saturday night. He returns to the American League for the first time since pitching for Minnesota from 2001-06.
The 37-year old was signed by the Rangers back in May on a minor league contract and has spent the season at Triple-A Round Rock. He was 2-5 with a 5.06 ERA in 10 games with the Express, but didn’t really throw that bad. Lohse had seven quality starts with Round Rock, and had solid efforts in four of his five losses. The Rangers aren’t necessarily worried about the numbers. They like the quality starts, something they haven’t gotten that much of lately.
As far as his stuff goes, Lohse has never really been considered a hard-thrower. His fastball sits around 89-91 mph, but his off speed pitches mixed in that helps pay the bills. Lohse has a biting slider to go along with a downward changeup and a 12-6 curve. His slider is something of a hybrid between a cutter and slider due to velocity and tight break at the end.
Lohse is a career 147-141 with a 4.37 ERA over his 15-year major league career. He was 51-57 during his time with the Twins, but had his best years with the Cardinals. Lohse went 15-6 with a 3.78 ERA in 2008, 14-8 with a 3.29 ERA in 2011 and 16-3 with a 2.86 ERA in 2012. He did face the Rangers in the 2011 World Series, but didn’t do very well, giving up three runs in three innings in his only appearance.
Lohse became a hot commodity after the 2012 season, eventually signing on with the Brewers. In his first season with Milwaukee, he went 11-10 with a 3.35 ERA in 198 innings. Lohse was able to keep his ERA below 4.00 during his time with the Brewers in a very hitting-friendly park.
There’s a little bit of history on the line tonight once the Rangers purchase Lohse’s contract and takes the mound. If he beats the Twins, he becomes the 14th pitcher in MLB history to beat all 30 active franchises.
The Rangers are in need of arms in the rotation, so it’s worth a shot to see what Lohse has left in the tank.