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King Kyle

For at least one more start, Kyle Lohse avoids being replaced in the rotation.

Before the series with the Rangers, Twins manager Ron Gardenhire hinted that rotation slots could be up for grabs if certain pitchers didn't start performing to expectations.  Brad Radke and Carlos Silva were both on this list, but the name at the top to be replaced was the embattled Kyle Lohse.

Lohse has been ripped throughout the bloggosphere for as long as I can remember, and it's been quite a point of debate.  Objectively he's been a major disappointment; subjectively he's been largely an average pitcher.

Now, with the rise of phenom Francisco Liriano, voices have raised throughout the informed and uninformed masses alike.  Lohse sucks!  Bring in Liriano!  Many of these tirades were informed; frighteningly many of them, particularly in the mainstream media, were not.  Now it seems the Twins organization have made the move internally:  Put the incumbents on notice.

Seriously, the way this season has been running, you have to ask yourself if Liriano could really be doing any worse.  If not, why wouldn't you get him the experience now that will make him more dangerous tomorrow?  (This is the same thought that should be put to Minnesota hitting prospects with more emphasis if not more importance, but I digress.)

In 6 innings this afternoon, Lohse looked okay.  He wasn't outstanding, but he did get the job done in spite of allowing too many baserunners.  Through 6 Kyle allowed 6 hits and walked 4, while striking out 6 and allowing just 1 run.  Sadly this quality start reduced Lohse's ERA to only 8.33.

Lohse has now started 7 games, and the fact that 3 of them have been quality starts and his ERA is still that bad tells me his other 4 starts weren't just sad; they were painful.

Date       IP   H  ER   K  BB   ERA(running)
April 7   4.2  11   8   3   3  15.43
April 13  6.0   5   2   2   2   8.44
April 19  3.1   7   8   1   1  11.57
April 25  6.0   5   1   5   5   8.55
April 30  5.2   8   6   1   2   8.77
May 5     4.0   9   7   3   1   9.71
May 10    6.0   6   1   6   4   8.33
Totals   35.2  51  33  21  18   8.33

For one start, Lohse has found a seat in a dangerous game of musical chairs.  For one more start, he's avoided what could be the first step toward the end of his career with the Minnesota Twins.  Unfortunately, for Kyle, it doesn't stop.  It's going to have to continue until he proves he's not a pitcher with an 8, 7, or 6+ ERA.  Just one sub-par start in the next month could ring in a new era for the Twins with Francisco Liriano.

Kyle doesn't want this, and it's a strange weaving of loyalties for fans as well.  We want Liriano, but at the expense of the Twins taking a beating?  In the long run, sure, it'd work out for the best, but that doesn't make it less painful.

Godspeed, Mr. Lohse.  You'll need it.