TCN St. Louis 2012 Starting Pitcher of Year

When the St. Louis Cardinals really needed him, Kyle Lohse stepped up with his best-ever season.

Kyle Lohse is 34 years old. The right-hander has pitched in the majors for 12 seasons, during which he is nine games over .500 with an ERA of 4.45. Lohse has never been an all-star nor placed in the voting for the Cy Young Award.

By all accounts, including his own, Lohse turned around his career upon joining the St. Louis Cardinals five years ago. Adopting the ground ball philosophy of coach Dave Duncan helped enable Lohse to win 55 games while posting a .611 winning percentage as a Cardinal.

2012 was the California native's best season yet, as he posted career highs in wins (16), win percentage (.842) and strikeouts (143). When his team needed his veteran leadership due to Adam Wainwright's uneven return after missing 2011 and Chris Carpenter's injury, Lohse stepped up. He pitched a career-high 211 innings in the regular season, with personal bests in ERA (2.86) and WHIP (1.09).

His excellent campaign has resulted in him being named The Cardinal Nation/ St. Louis Cardinals Starting Pitcher of the Year.

As the table below indicates, Lohse led the Cardinals in starts (33 – tied for most in the National League), quality starts (24) and tied for most average innings per start on the staff (6 1/3), despite receiving less run support than the team average.

As starter  Sts QS W-L W-L tm Avg IP K/9 Run spt
Carpenter 3 2 0-2 0-3 5.2 6.4 1.7
Garcia 20 12 7-7 8-12 6 7.2 4.2
Kelly 16 10 4-6 7-9 5.2 5.8 4.4
Lohse 33 24 16-3 21-12 6.1 6.1 4.4
Lynn 29 16 17-5 21-8 6 9.1 5.9
Miller 1 1 0-0 1-0 6 11 1.0
Wainwright 32 18 14-13 16-16 6 8.3 4.5
Westbrook 28 16 13-11 14-14 6.1 5.5 5.1
Totals 162 99 71-46 88-74 6 7.2 4.7

The most important column in the chart above, however, is the bottom line – the Cardinals record in Lohse's appearances. Their 21-12 (.636) mark in his outings was only topped during Lance Lynn's starts and is considerably higher than the overall team win rate of .543 (88 victories).

2012 will be the year that the free agent-to-be should finally receive national recognition in the Cy Young Award balloting. His .842 winning percentage is not only the best in team history; it also led all of Major League Baseball in 2012.

Lohse ranked in the top ten in the NL in wins, quality starts, ERA, innings pitched, WHIP, fewest walks per nine innings (1.62) and best strikeout to walk ratio (3.76). Plus, he was 11th in opponent batting average (.239).

The right-hander contributed in other areas as well. Lohse finished fifth in the NL in sacrifice bunts with 12 and was even called upon to pinch hit.

He fielded his position flawlessly for the second consecutive season. In fact, Lohse has not made an error since May 2010, with his active streak of 105 errorless chances the longest current stretch by an MLB pitcher.

A playoff disappointment in 2011, Lohse turned that around this year. He won the wild card game over Atlanta, then pitched seven innings against Washington in the Division Series, allowing just two hits and one run. In the Championship Series versus San Francisco, Lohse went 5 2/3 innings on one run in the Game 3 win.

What would have been a dominating post-season was tempered by his NLCS Game 7 outing. Lohse lasted just two innings, allowing five runs, all earned, on six hits as San Francisco went on to a 9-0 win. He had never gone less than five innings all season long and the five runs yielded tied his worst single-game result in 2012.

Though it appears Lohse will ply his craft elsewhere in 2013 and beyond, that takes nothing away from his excellent 2012 season in the Cardinals rotation. We are pleased to announce that Kyle Lohse is The Cardinal Nation/ St. Louis Cardinals Starting Pitcher of the Year.

Note: Link to article with links to all articles about previous award winners across the system club by club, schedule for upcoming announcements as well as 2012 team recaps, much of it exclusively for The Cardinal Nation subscribers.

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Brian Walton can be reached via email at Also catch his Cardinals commentary daily at The Cardinal Nation blog. Follow Brian on Twitter.

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