Facing an injury-plagued Cubs lineup might help Lohse end those struggles and earn a fourth straight win Saturday at Busch Stadium.
Lohse (7-2, 2.13 ERA) has gone at least six innings in each of his 11 outings and is 3-1 with a 1.75 ERA in his last five. The right-hander gave up two runs and six hits over his six frames Sunday while striking out six during a 4-3 win in Colorado.
After winning a career-best 15 games in 2008, Lohse totaled 10 victories over the last two seasons while dealing with forearm and groin problems.
“It feels good to go through what I’ve gone through and come back and feel like I’m getting that consistency I want to get out there,” Lohse said. “Not having a start here or there you want to forget about. I’m looking to keep it going.”
In this start, Lohse has a chance to tie for the major league lead in wins, but he’s endured some forgettable outings against the Cubs, including a 9-7 defeat in St. Louis on Aug. 15. He gave up seven runs over three innings in that game and is 0-3 with an 8.07 ERA in his last seven matchups.
This time, Lohse will face a Cubs team without leading home run hitter Alfonso Soriano(notes), who went on the disabled list Tuesday because of a strained left quad. A trio of .300 hitters - Marlon Byrd(notes) (multiple facial fractures), Reed Johnson(notes) (back) and Jeff Baker(notes) (groin) - are also on the DL, and Aramis Ramirez(notes) sat out the series opener after getting hit in the face with a grounder Wednesday.
With those players missing, Chicago (23-32) had five hits in a 6-1 defeat and has hit .192 in losing six of seven. Former Cubs infielder Ryan Theriot(notes), meanwhile, extended his career-best hit streak to 17 games - the longest active run in the majors.
In his first start back from a strained right forearm, the St. Louis-area native gave up five runs over four innings during a 10-0 loss to Pittsburgh last Saturday.
“I got behind a lot of hitters and ran the pitch count up,” said Wells, who struck out seven and threw 92 pitches. “I don’t know if it was so much rust as I was anxious to get back out there and see how things were going.”
Wells (1-1, 5.40), however, had a 0.60 ERA while winning his final two starts against the Cardinals last season after going 0-2 with a 10.13 ERA in his first three career matchups.