The Cardinals have announced their starting pitcher for Friday’s showdown with the Braves. It will be the veteran right-hander Kyle Lohse, owner of a 118-109 career record and a 4.45 ERA over his twelve major league seasons. Lohse is currently enjoying the best season of his career, with an impressive 16-3 record and a 2.86 ERA. Lohse has become the master of the two-seam fastball during the last two seasons, using it to pile up called strikes on the glove-side of the plate. Left-handed batters are left frozen by the pitch, thinking it is going to be well inside before it suddenly dives into the strike zone at the last moment. Lohse uses the two-seam fastball early and often. He has the third-highest percentage of first-pitch strikes among qualified pitchers, trailing only Cliff Lee and Jordan Zimmermann. He doesn’t miss bats very often, leaving him with a smaller margin of error. But when the two-seamer is working, Lohse has the ability to dominate.
The choice to use Kyle Lohse makes a lot of sense from a match-up standpoint. The most important hitters in the Braves powerful offense are left-handed, including Freddie Freeman and Jason Heyward. It all starts with Michael Bourn at the top of the order. Bourn has game-changing speed, with the ability to steal a base seemingly at will. Bourn has faced Lohse 35 times during his career, stifling him over and over again. Bourn has recorded 7 hits over those 35 plate appearances: 6 singles and a double. That equates to a .206/.229/.235 batting line. If the Cardinals can keep him from reaching base, they will have a very good shot at winning the game. I expect to see plenty of two-seam fastballs.
About the Author
Written by David Gorsky
I'm a lifelong sports fan with a particular interest in baseball. I'm a proponent of using SABRmetrics to find a player's true value. I recently graduated from the University of Virginia and I'm ready to start my career in sports media. I can be reached at davidgorsky(at)outlook.com.