Lohse (11-2, 3.39 ERA) has been one of baseball’s biggest surprises, going 8-0 with a 2.18 ERA in his last 10 starts with the Cardinals (53-43) winning nine of those games. The right-hander helped them to another victory Friday, scattering six hits in seven innings of a 6-0 win at Pittsburgh.
Lohse’s surprising season comes after he went 9-12 with a 4.62 ERA in 34 games - 32 starts - with Cincinnati and Philadelphia last year. In March, St. Louis signed the eight-year veteran to a one-year, $4.24 million deal hoping he could add some depth to the rotation.
He’s done far more than that, posting his highest win total since he had a career-high 14 with Minnesota in 2003 and helping the Cardinals to second place in the NL Central, 4 1/2 games behind Chicago. Despite his impressive season, Lohse was not named to Tuesday’s All-Star game.
“I’m happy with the way things have been going,” Lohse told the team’s official Web site. “The team as a whole has been playing some really good baseball, and I’m happy about the way we’ve gone about our business.
“My success has been a combination of the things. I just feel like I’m on top of my game and I’m locating my pitches and not making those mistakes in key situations, where before I’d give up a couple of big innings and that was based mostly on making a mistake in a bad situation and not making those pitches.”
Lohse is 0-2 with a 7.04 ERA in three starts against the Padres (37-58), but has yet to face them this season.
St. Louis, coming off Sunday’s 11-6 win at Pittsburgh, took two of three at San Diego from May 19-21.
The Padres, who lost 12-3 to Atlanta on Sunday, are 14-28 on the road, tying them with Colorado for the fewest away wins in the majors.
Peavy (7-5, 2.47), the reigning NL Cy Young Award winner, is looking to win a third consecutive start as he tries to help last-place San Diego open a season-high 11-game trip on a positive note.
The right-hander has won his last two starts, giving up seven hits while striking out 13 in 14 innings. Those outings have helped him improve to 3-2 with a 1.75 ERA in six games since being activated from the disabled list.
Peavy, on the DL from May 20-June 12 with a strained elbow, was outstanding again Friday, yielding four hits with seven strikeouts in seven innings of a 4-0 win over Atlanta.
“Obviously he comes out and does his thing,” Padres center fielder Scott Hairston said. “He’s been pitching great lately. He adds fire to the game. I would say guys get motivated from that. It’s encouraging to see a guy just lay it out there. I think all our pitchers do that. But there’s just something about Jake.”
Peavy is 3-2 with a 2.89 ERA in seven career starts against the Cardinals. He has won three straight appearances against them while allowing six hits over 13 scoreless innings with 15 strikeouts in the last two meetings.