With their postseason chances fading, the Reds hope Lohse can end a string of three straight poor starts when they face the Florida Marlins in the finale of a three-game set on Thursday.
Cincinnati (78-80) had a three-game winning streak snapped with a 7-2 loss to Florida (77-81) on Wednesday, dropping 3 1/2 games behind NL Central-leading St. Louis. After this contest, the Reds wrap up the regular season with three games at Pittsburgh.
“If there was ever a ‘must-win’ situation, we have that,” Cincinnati shortstop Royce Clayton said of the series finale. “We need a little help and we need to run the table.”
Lohse (2-5, 4.89 ERA) hardly seems like the pitcher the Reds would want on the mound in this spot. Cincinnati has scored a total of seven runs in Lohse’s last three starts—all losses—and he has a 12.70 ERA in that span.
The right-hander gave up six runs—five earned—and seven hits in three innings in an 11-4 loss to the Chicago Cubs on Saturday.
“I know he’s much better than the last couple of times he’s pitched,” Reds manager Jerry Narron said.
Lohse, acquired from playoff-bound Minnesota on July 31, will make his first career start against the Marlins.
Florida will counter with rookie Ricky Nolasco (11-10, 4.70 ERA). He gave up four runs and seven hits in 3 2-3 innings in a 5-2 loss to Philadelphia on Friday. The right-hander has lost his last three decisions since defeating Arizona on Aug. 13.
In his only career appearance against the Reds, Nolasco allowed four runs— two earned—and three hits in one inning of relief in a 9-8 loss on April 19.
Nolasco is part of a group that has made the Marlins the first team in major league history to have four rookie pitchers with 10 wins—Anibal Sanchez (10-3), Scott Olsen (12-9), Josh Johnson (12-7) and Nolasco. Dontrelle Willis (12-12) gives the Marlins five 10-game winners for the first time in franchise history.
“It’s hard to believe,” Marlins manager Joe Girardi said. “No one has ever done it before and they have been playing baseball for a long time. It’s amazing to be a part of.”
Rookie Hanley Ramirez hit two home runs, including an inside-the-park shot Wednesday. He hit his seventh leadoff homer of the season, tying the rookie record set by Nomar Garciaparra with Boston in 1997.
Ramirez’s inside-the-park homer in the eighth hit the wall in left-center field and caromed away from center fielder Chris Denorfia toward right field. Ramirez easily beat the throw home for the 13th inside-the-park homer in franchise history.