Milwaukee Brewers starter Kyle Lohse has enjoyed a lengthy career with five different MLB teams, but he is not considered to be a traditional strikeout pitcher. However, this season has been a surprising exception to this rule, albeit in a somewhat limited sample size.
Lohse entered today’s action averaging exactly one strikeout per inning in 2014, which is quite the anomaly when looking at his career numbers. In fact, Lohse has never even approached an average of one strikeout per inning over a full season. But for whatever reason, Lohse has been missing more bats this year. His season to date has included two nine-strikeout performances and another with eight.
Despite the high strikeout totals, Lohse is also pitching relatively deep into games, having gone seven innings or more in three starts and at least six innings in every start but one, including on Sunday afternoon against the Cincinnati Reds.
Ironically enough, this start against the Reds produced the lowest strikeout total of the season for Lohse. In 6.1 innings, the veteran right-hander fanned only two batters. However, he still pitched quite well, allowing eight hits and two earned runs. Lohse exited the game with the lead, but the Brewers’ bullpen could not preserve it in an eventual Reds extra-inning victory. Lohse now has a 2.72 ERA and 1.10 WHIP through seven starts in 2014.
The 35-year-old Lohse has never had a K/9 rate above seven in his career, so the chances of him sustaining this strikeout pace are remote at best. However, Lohse doesn’t need to maintain this strikeout rate to be successful and should continue to perform at an extremely high level for the Brewers, providing a stabilizing force in the rotation.