With Kyle Lohse on the mound tonight, the Cardinals have their #1 starter going — #1, that is, if you’re talking about finesse. So far in 2010, Lohse has the lowest K/9 and BB/9 rates on the rotation. And consequently, he also has the worst expected FIP, prone as he is to the vagaries of balls in play:
Even though it’s early, don’t expect Lohse to significantly upgrade his strikeout rate as the season wears on, given his recent rates:
With the exception of the slight uptick in both K and BB rates last year (though over only 117 2/3 innings), Lohse has been on a steady decline, becoming more and more of a pitch-to-contact pitcher. That works for Carpenter and Wainwright, except that they can also dial up a strikeout when needed.
We mentioned the other day that Lohse was the Ryan Franklin of the starting rotation. For the same reason, 2010 could be a long season for both of them.