Can You Trust Kyle Lohse’s Fast Start?

Apr 22, 2011

After tossing a shutout last night I’m sure Kyle Lohse is a popular waiver claim. What’s not to like about a guy with a 3-1 record, a 2.01 ERA, and a 0.73 WHIP? You should know he’s been a fast starter for most of his career.
He got bombed last April (0-1, 6.55 ERA), but look at his recent April performances:
2009:  3-0, 1.97 ERA
2008:  3-0, 2.36 ERA
2007:  1-1, 2.88 ERA
That’s a total of 7-1 with a 2.41 ERA in April over those three years. Considering he went 23-27 the remaining months of those seasons, it’s easy to be skeptical. Factor in a 4.79 ERA over that stretch and the alarms really start going off. That doesn’t mean you should either drop him or avoid him, but be realistic with him.
Lohse is 32 years old with a 91-99 record and a 4.73 ERA. He had a brilliant 15-6, 3.78 ERA season in 2008, but that was the only time his ERA was below 4.00 for the year. In his first ten seasons he only finished with a .500 record or better three times. Two of them came in 2002 and 2003, making them a distant memory. His career high is 130 strikeouts.
Feel free to use him while he’s pitching as well as he is, but be ready to eject when things start going sour.

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