Feldman: Lohse proves the past was not an excuse

Feldman: Lohse proves the past was not an excuse

Credit: Getty Images

ST. LOUIS, MO - JULY 7: Starter Kyle Lohse #26 of the St. Louis Cardinals pitches against the Miami Marlins at Busch Stadium on July 7, 2012 in St. Louis, Missouri. (Photo by Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images)

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by Brian Feldman, BaseballStL

KMOV.com

Posted on October 17, 2012 at 12:19 PM

Updated Saturday, Nov 2 at 12:31 PM

(BaseballStL) -- In sports, no wait, scratch that. In life, we're all taught not to make excuses. Do what you have to do. Do your best and if it doesn't work out, take responsibility for it. Don't blame it on something or someone else.

Kyle Lohse is teaching us all that, just sometimes, excuses are more than words. They're reasons.

After having a marvelous first season with the Cardinals in 2008 (15-6, 3.78 ERA) Lohse was off to another great start to 2009 (3-0, 1.97 ERA in April) before getting hit on his right forearm at the plate on May 4th of that year.

It was the 3rd inning when he took a Joe Blanton fastball off his arm and couldn't even finish the 5th that day. Lohse later said his arm felt numb for the remainder of the outing.

I dug through old story archives and found this gem of a quote from Lohse that May evening at Busch Stadium. "I was pretty sore, but that's not an excuse," the right-hander said.

Well, Kyle, I'm sorry to tell you this. But if you could have known what the next two years of your life would be like after that you wouldn't have said it was an excuse.

Lohse finished the year with a 6-10 record and a 4.74 ERA. Because the Cardinals still hadn't determined exactly what he was going through and couldn't pinpoint a remedy, he never got the issue fixed for the next season.

The result? How about a 2010 record of 4-8 with an embarrassing 6.55 ERA in just 92 innings.

It was during that season the organization finally realized what was wrong with him. He had a rare forearm condition that required a surgery completely foreign to baseball players.

So he got that fixed and returned, healthy, in 2011. A 14-8 record with a 3.39 earned run average preceded his monstrous 2012 where he went 16-3 with a 2.86 ERA.

How is it possible for someone to consistently have an earned run average in the lower 3's, see that number spike into the 6's, then suddenly fall back to the 3's and, ultimately, the 2's?

The answer? Something happened. Something happened that robbed Kyle Lohse of his weapons to go out and pitch effectively. I remember talking to him during that stretch and he said he just could not grip the ball the way he wanted to. He had this odd sensation in his forearm that made it feel numb at times.

I may not be a big league pitcher, but I know enough to confidently say that's not a good sign.

For the majority of 2009 and all of 2010 fans were anxiously waiting for Lohse's four year deal to expire so he could go away and the Cards would save the money on his contract.

Well, folks, that deal is about up. And you're about to get your wish of them saving that money on the payroll.

But instead of that being a good thing, it's now a bad thing. The Cards are going to have a major hole to fill in their rotation for 2013 and beyond.

So, what did the last several years teach us beyond the fact you should be careful what you wish for?

There are excuses in this world. Most are bad. The vast majority of the time they're someone trying to save face for not doing their job.

But sometimes, just sometimes, they're not excuses. They're reasons.

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