COMMENTARY | The St. Louis Cardinals had a very quiet and subdued offseason prior to 2013. The most important move that the team completed was the move not to re-sign one of the most consistent starters in recent memory in Kyle Lohse. A qualifying offer was sent to the pitcher, Lohse declined, and draft-pick compensation was attached to his contract negotiations.
This started a long, drawn-out and complicated series of events for Lohse. Most teams turned away from the hurler, not willing to mortgage a future draft pick in order to obtain his services. The situation went well into the spring before Lohse would reach a deal with the Milwaukee Brewers during the last week of spring training. The right-hander had a three-year deal worth $33 million and was back in the same division his former team called home.
Meanwhile, in the Cardinals' training camp, a competition was being held between three young hurlers to assume the fifth spot in the rotation for the team in 2013. The dust would settle and the top pitching prospect on the team, Shelby Miller, would join Adam Wainwright, Jaime Garcia, Lance Lynn and Jake Westbrook as the starting five.
The weather is a bit touchy in early April, especially in Chicago. So, when Lohse was set to take the mound in the third game of a three-game series against the Cubs, a rain-out was not a huge surprise. The surprise came in what the rain-wasted game allowed to happen. It pushed Lohse back one day to start, in St. Louis, opposite Miller.
Lohse takes the mound on April 12 as a member of the opposing team in Busch Stadium for the first time since June 7, 2007. That day he pitched 8 1/3 innings of seven-hit, one run baseball and defeated the Cardinals as a member of the Philadelphia Phillies. Since then, he has amassed a career record for the Cardinals of 55-35 with a 3.90 earned run average and a 1.279 walks/hits per innings pitched. His career was consistent, productive, and successful.
But now he's wearing blue. That color can sure change a man.
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- Kyle Lohse