[Important VEB Documentary Hypothesis note: Thanks to the vagaries of the SB Nation back-end, this is the ghost of danup speaking through tom s.'s gamethread. I apologize for any and all ghost-related inconveniences.]
We all know exactly how good Roy Halladay is (refresher: really good), but it's worth recapping here—for the last time until his postseason performance takes a much greater share of our feelings on his performance than it has to date—just how good Kyle Lohse has been. Refresher: Pretty good!
Almost exactly as good, in fact, as he was in 2008. In 2011 Lohse's walk rate fell to just 2.0 per nine innings, a career low, and in spite of his perennially low strikeout rate he's managed to keep the home runs down, too. It's a testament to just how bad his contract was that, in spite of Lohse's 14-8, 188 innings, 107 ERA+ performance, he's still failed to earn this year's money back in Fangraphs Pretend WARbucks—this really was a contract that expected his career-year 2008 to serve as a new performance baseline through his 33rd birthday.
But in 2011 only the one year matters, and it turns out that he's had a second career year through his 32nd birthday. Despite being various shades of bad all summer long, Lohse recovered from his tailspin in time to be even better in September than he was in the spring. If you believe in momentum, Lohse is as good as anybody in the Cardinals' rotation right now, and the perfect choice to start today's NLDS opener; if you don't believe in momentum, Lohse had a fine season and is as good a choice as anybody who didn't shut out the Astros the other day to start today's NLDS opener.
That's no Roy Halladay, but the Cardinals have positioned themselves as well as they could, under a season's worth of circumstances, to face the best pitcher in baseball.
by just a skoshe
is no Roy Halladay
but pretty-good-enough, I'd say
Saturday, Oct 1, 2011, 5:07 PM EDT
Citizens Bank Park
Kyle Lohse vs Roy Halladay
Mostly cloudy,rain. Winds blowing from left to right field at 10-15 m.p.h. Game time temperature around 60.
#26 / Pitcher / St. Louis Cardinals
Oct 04, 1978
|2011 - Kyle Lohse||14-8||35||30||1||1||0||0||188.1||178||80||71||16||42||111||3.39||1.17|
#34 / Pitcher / Philadelphia Phillies
May 14, 1977
|2011 - Roy Halladay||19-6||32||32||8||1||0||0||233.2||208||65||61||10||35||220||2.35||1.04|
1. furcal (ss)