The Free Press, Mankato, MN

Sports Columns

May 9, 2006

Lohse pitching too poorly to pull

Terry Ryan and Ron Gardenhire are patient men.

For more than two years, they’ve waited for Kyle Lohse to live up to what he did down the stretch in 2003.

It’s increasingly difficult to believe it now, but it’s true. In August and September of 2003 — in the one real pennant race the Twins experienced during their run of divisional titles — Lohse went 8-2 with a 3.67 ERA, striking out 37 men while walking just 15.

That winter the Twins let Kenny Rogers walk and dealt away Eric Milton — and still felt confident in their starting pitching, because they had Johan Santana and Lohse ready to take over the front of the rotation.

Santana did so; Lohse did not.

At best, Lohse has been a mediocre, if well-paid, back-of-the-rotation innings-eater. Right now, he’s worse.

Friday’s gopher-ball parade left Lohse with a 9.71 ERA for the season. His batting average allowed is .346. That’s two points higher than Ted Williams’ lifetime average. He’s walked almost as many as he’s struck out.

As a fan of the Twins and student of the game, I’ve pulled the plug. I’ve declared a personal Kyle Lohse boycott. I will no longer journey to the Dome for a Lohse start.

I’ve done this before. Last year it was Joe Mays. In 2003, Rick Reed. In both cases, each was out of the rotation within a week or so.

Ryan and Gardenhire have their limits also, and history suggests their limits are fairly close to mine.

Logic suggests that their patience will continue.

Why would they stick with him?

The answer may lie in a different question: If the Twins pull Lohse from the rotation this week, what do they do with him?

He would be an awfully pricey long reliever. And as such, he’s not likely to fetch much in a trade.

Text Only | Photo Reprints
Sports Columns
  • Courrier: There are no winners in MSU football saga Where to start? In 28 years in the business, there has never been a more odd, twisted, rollercoaster story than the Todd Hoffner saga. And that was before he came back to the Minnesota State campus this week, when strange became tragic and the chance

    April 17, 2014

  • Thoma column: Twins are scoring lot of runs; can this continue? The Minnesota Twins entered Sunday's play with the American League's second-highest number of runs scored. And, they haven't had the advantage of hitting off their own pitching staff. OK, it's dreadfully early in the season, far too early to draw co

    April 14, 2014

  • Courrier: Masters is first sign that winter has been conquered Don't know if anybody noticed but it's been a tough winter, with brutal cold and piles of snow that are now just disappearing. If not for an exciting season of local basketball and hockey, it would have an unbearable four months. Minnesota State had

    April 10, 2014

  • Thoma column: We all know the Ryan Braun saga: Winner of the National League MVP award, flunked a drug test, convinced the arbitrator to toss his suspension on the basis that his sample was mishandled, was snagged anyway in the Biogenesis investigation, suspended

    April 7, 2014

  • Focus will be on Mavericks' QBs this spring The Minnesota State football team began its spring practice period this week, 14 workouts in 27 days, trying to see who has been working hard to maintain a starting position and which backups might be ready to get more playing time in the fall. The b

    April 4, 2014

  • Thoma column: For the remade Twins, 2014 looks like more losing The start of the baseball season is supposed to be about fresh beginnings, wide open promises and the hope that springs eternal in the human breast. I'm here to quash that kind of optimism among the followers of the Minnesota Twins. (I strive to be a

    April 1, 2014

  • Shot clock isn't answer for high-school basketball A few weeks back, the state's basketball fans were all riled up that during a state-tournament game, the Hopkins boys spent much of the four overtimes holding the basketball, preferring not to shoot until the final seconds of each extra period in the

    March 28, 2014

  • Thoma column: Projected lineup is Mauer, Arcia and a bunch of outs The Minnesota Twins begin play in earnest in less than a week -- weather permitting -- and wow, do they have lineup issues. They scored 614 runs last season, 13th in the 15-team American League and almost 100 under the league average (702). Justin Mo

    March 26, 2014

  • Thoma column: Perkins extension may not be such a relief over time In the abstract, long-term contracts for relief pitchers are bad bets for teams. Nobody seems to be too concerned about that rule of thumb when it comes to Glen Perkins' new deal with the Twins. The contract, worth more than $21 million in guaranteed

    March 17, 2014

  • Courrier: No. 1 seed has brought no guarantees for MSU Since the Minnesota State men's basketball team started this nearly annual tradition of playing in the NCAA II tournament, the home team has almost been unbeatable in the regional. The Mavericks have played in nine of the last 10 national tournaments

    March 14, 2014