The St. Louis Cardinals got more bad news about one of their banged-up starting pitchers on Wednesday. But they have no reason to panic because their patchwork rotation has had no problem carrying the load.
Hoping to bounce back from his worst outing of the year, Kyle Lohse takes the mound as the Cardinals go for their seventh win in nine games on Thursday in the finale of a four-game road series against the Colorado Rockies.
Lohse (3-1, 3.79 ERA) has been one of several surprises in the rotation for St. Louis (22-13), which - despite injuries to starters Chris Carpenter, Mark Mulder and Matt Clement - has boasted some of the NL’s best starting pitching.
Lohse didn’t help those numbers on Saturday, when he was tagged for eight runs in six innings of a 9-3 loss to the Chicago Cubs, but the right-hander was 3-0 with a 2.36 ERA in six April starts.
Lohse is 1-1 with a 2.74 ERA in four career games against the Rockies (13-21).
The Cardinals hope Lohse can regain his form from earlier this season, especially since Mulder had his rehabilitation assignment delayed Wednesday because of a mild rotator cuff strain in his surgically repaired left shoulder. The former 20-game winner is expected to rest for at least a week before getting re-evaluated.
“It’s the right thing. It makes no sense to rush him back and have him get hurt again. We went through this last year,” Cardinals manager Tony La Russa said. “He’s a premier pitcher, one of the premier pitchers in the game and he needs to get it right.”
Because of the injuries, Adam Wainwright has emerged as the Cardinals’ de facto ace, and he looked the part on Wednesday night, holding the Rockies to four hits in seven scoreless innings. But closer Jason Isringhausen blew a two-run eighth-inning lead in a 4-3 loss for his third blown save in his last six opportunities.
Colorado catcher Chris Iannetta tripled home the game-tying and go-ahead runs to cap the Rockies’ four-run eighth and give them their fourth win in 17 games.
“We’ve been really close and hopefully this pushes us over the edge and gets us going,” Iannetta said.
To build on Wednesday’s win, the Rockies may need Iannetta to continue his hot hitting. He’s batting .353 this year after hitting .218 and earning a return to the minors in 2007.
Iannetta says he hasn’t made too many adjustments despite his disappointing performance last season.
“No, same old stuff. In all honesty, there’s no magic potion or solution or equation that’s getting me results,” he said. “Sometimes it happens in baseball, sometimes it doesn’t. I just go out there and play every day and eventually it’s going to come around.”
The Rockies haven’t won back-to-back contests since a season-high four-game win streak April 16-19. However, they feel that a come-from-behind victory like Wednesday’s could be enough to get the defending NL champions back on track.
“A win like this is huge for us because it’s just one of those friendly reminders that we are a good enough team to come back,” reserve outfielder Ryan Spilborghs said. “It’s a nice reminder for us to just see that.”
Colorado now hands the ball to Jorge De La Rosa (0-1, 20.25), who didn’t impress in his first major league outing of the year on Saturday. The left-hander gave up nine runs in four innings in a 12-7 loss to the Los Angeles Dodgers.
De La Rosa is 1-2 with a 7.11 ERA in nine career games - three starts - against the Cardinals.