Lohse will take the mound for St. Louis against Volquez and the Reds on Thursday night for the first time since the two threw at each other, resulting in a five-game suspension for the Cardinals pitcher.
Trouble between the two started in the fifth inning of the Reds’ 7-3 win on Aug. 17. Lohse batted in the top half with two runners on base, and Volquez threw up-and-in to him. Volquez (16-5, 3.22 ERA) led off the bottom half and Lohse’s first pitch was high-and-tight, leading plate umpire Greg Gibson to warn both teams.
“Same spot,” Lohse said after the game. “Wasn’t trying to hit him, though.”
That apparently didn’t matter as Lohse was suspended five games by Major League Baseball disciplinarian Bob Watson.
St. Louis manager Tony La Russa said he had not been expecting a suspension.
“The other guy threw two balls at guys’ heads,” La Russa said. “I don’t know, I’m just shocked.”
Perhaps the unexpected time off will also help Lohse (13-6, 3.80) end his second-half slump. After beating last-place San Diego on July 17, the right-hander is 1-4 with a 4.72 ERA in 10 starts.
A lackluster offense has contributed to those poor numbers—Lohse has received three runs of support or less in nine of those appearances.
Lohse failed to get a decision on Sept. 9 against the Chicago Cubs. He gave up three runs and eight hits over 5 1-3 innings in the 4-3 victory.
Volquez, meanwhile, will try to become the first Reds rookie to win 17 games since 1985, when Tom Browning won 20. Acquired in the offseason from Texas for Josh Hamilton, Volquez also is looking to become the first pitcher to win 17 in his first year with Cincinnati in 20 years.
That was when Danny Jackson had 23 victories following five seasons with Kansas City.
But Volquez has been wild while going winless over his last three starts— he’s given up 16 hits and 10 walks over his last 18 2-3 innings. He conceded a career high-tying six walks over six innings on Saturday in a 3-2 win in 10 innings over Arizona.
Cincinnati (70-81) is looking to win its fifth in a row, and sweep St. Louis (78-73) at home for the first time since Sept. 11-13, 2007. On Wednesday, Aaron Harang threw a six-hitter, and Andy Phillips and Jay Bruce hit back-to-back homers in the Reds’ 3-0 win.
Harang, who led the Reds with 16 wins each of the last two seasons, improved to 5-16 this year. He gave up two first-inning singles, then got Albert Pujols to hit in a double play and cruised from there.
Pujols is 0-for-8 in this series after entering with a 10-game hitting streak.
Felipe Lopez had two hits for St. Louis, which was blanked for the fifth time this season while losing its season-high seventh in a row.