Most St. Louis Cardinals fans probably knew even prior to Kyle Lohse's 3 1/3 inning clunker against the Los Angeles Angels on Saturday afternoon that he has been having trouble going deep into games. The right-hander allowed six runs on seven hits this time out and complained of forearm pain afterward.
Researcher Tom Orf helps us put those feelings into context by pulling the stats of Cardinals starters since the beginning of the 2006 season, with the focus on those who went fewer than four innings.
The data confirms the suspicion. No Cardinals pitcher has delivered more starts of four innings or less in the last 4 ¼ years than Lohse. It isn't close. Including Saturday's outing, Lohse has a dozen "short starts" compared to now-San Francisco Giant Todd Wellemeyer's eight such games.
As a team, the Cardinals are at two in a row after Brad Penny's aborted outing on Friday.
St. Louis Cardinals starting pitchers, four innings or less, 2006-current
To be fair to Lohse, we also need to look at the percentage of these short starts in relation to the pitchers' entire body of work. Lohse has not been able to get beyond the fourth inning in not quite one of every five of his starting assignments as a Cardinal, 19 percent to be precise.
Putting aside those pitchers with just a handful of starts during that time, Lohse isn't actually the worst. He is fourth, though worst on the current active roster. The overall "honor" goes to Mike Maroth at 42.9 percent (3-of-7), followed by the end-of-the-line version of Mark Mulder at 38.1 percent and not-to-be-forgotten Sir Sidney Ponson at 23.1 percent.
Surprisingly, Wellemeyer came in closest to the Cardinals team average during this time at 12.5 percent.
Not surprisingly at all, the Cardinals three best starters, Adam Wainwright, Chris Carpenter and Jaime Garcia, have delivered the lowest percentage of clunkers.
St. Louis Cardinals starting pitchers, four innings or less as percentage of all starts, 2006-current
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