Friday night’s Cardinals starter Kyle Lohse gave five runs on nine hits in five innings the last time he faced the Braves May 30, including home runs to both Brian McCann and Freddie Freeman. He thinks he might have been tipping his pitches that night.
“I thought maybe a couple of the hitters might have known some things that were coming,” Lohse said.
He immediately made an adjustment with his delivery, taking his hands over his head instead of keeping them up in front of his chest.
“I don’t know if that really had much of a difference for real or just maybe a mental thing,” Lohse said. “It seemed to work a little bit.”
Lohse went 7-3 with a 2.08 ERA over his next 10 starts, allowing two or fewer runs in nine of them.
Lohse, who celebrated his 34th birthday Thursday, was chosen over Adam Wainwright to start the one-game playoff for the Cardinals because he’s been their most consistent starter throughout the season. Lohse finished the season 16-3 with a 2.86 ERA while Wainwright was 14-13 with a 3.94 ERA.
Manager Mike Matheny announced his lineup for Friday’s game:
1. Jon Jay CF
2. Carlos Beltran RF
3. Matt Holliday LF
4. Allen Craig 1B
5. Yadier Molina C
6. David Freese 3B
7. Daniel Descalso 2B
8. Pete Kozma SS
9. Kyle Lohse P
Veteran first baseman Lance Berkman is not expected to be on the Cardinals roster for Friday’s game. He has been out most of the year following two knee operations, the latest on Sept. 11, and is contemplating retirement. He pinch hit in the Cardinals’ final regular season game on Wednesday, grounding out, but that was largely to give the Cardinals fans a chance to honor him with an ovation. It was his first appearance in a game since Sept. 7.
“He’s feeling a lot of restriction the further he tries to push it,” Matheny said Thursday. “We’re not ruling anything out…but right now he’s not ready.”
Former Brave shortstop Rafael Furcal has been out since Aug. 30 with a torn ligament in his right elbow. He’s hoping a platelet-rich plasma injection will help him avoid “Tommy John” surgery. Pete Kozma, 24, a first-round draft pick in 2007, has hit .333 (24-for-72) with five doubles, three triples, two home runs and 14 RBIs in 26 games in place of Furcal.