|St. Louis sends Lohse to the hill in Game 3 of the NLCS|
With the National League Championship Series tied at one game apiece, Kyle Lohse is in the right frame of mind to square off against Matt Cain in the pivotal third game. The 34 year-old Lohse has been at the top of his game all season, pitched well in the Wild Card playoff game in Atlanta and dominated the Nationals in Game 4 of the NLDS. Lohse permitted just one run, an Adam LaRoche solo shot, through seven innings.
Lohse, buoyed by his recent success, isn't patting himself on the back just yet. He knows he'll have to keep it up when he faces the Giants tomorrow night for the first time since April 10, 2011. San Francisco has a much thicker lineup than years past with Angel Pagan and Marco Scutaro setting the table for a formidable heart of the order; Pablo Sandoval, likely NL MVP Buster Posey and Hunter Pence. Lohse acknowledged the Giants have a "tough lineup...with guys up and down that can hurt you." His main goal is to not let Posey bat with any runners on base, and he's looking forward to going toe-to-toe with Matt Cain. Lohse spoke highly of his opponent, praising Cain as "a very good pitcher who's had a lot of success in this game...It's going to be a challenge."
Lohse has adopted an approach to pitching that relies on what he called "controlled aggressiveness." His plan involves getting ahead of batters and making them hit his pitch. He knows he's not a strikeout guy, that he doesn't have the velocity to blow fastballs by hitters. He'll work with battery-mate Yadier Molina on setting batters up and hitting targets, trying to expand the strike zone whenever possible. Lohse stresses taking the game one pitch at a time and staying in the moment. "Keep it simple" was the mantra of his press conference.
So Lohse's game plan is simple enough. Tomorrow night against the Giants, it's all about location, location, location.