Lohse puzzled about tough start to season

Lohse puzzled about tough start to season

MILWAUKEE -- Kyle Lohse hasn't had an ERA like this -- 7.03 after a 106-pitch, five-inning, four run slog against the Cubs in Saturday's 12-4 win -- since 2010, when he had the right forearm surgery that would revive his career. Unlike then, he feels healthy now, which makes his high-effort outings of late all the more puzzling.

Lohse is a bit puzzled himself.

"The frustrating thing about baseball is you can feel great throwing your bullpens, but the hitters will let you know what's really going on," Lohse said. "I feel really close. I just keep leaving a couple out over the plate, and it's touching me up a little bit."

That's what happened Saturday, when Gerardo Parra's second-inning home run gave Lohse a 2-0 lead but Cubs rookie Kris Bryant took it right back. With two runners aboard and one out in the top of the third inning, Bryant connected with a first pitch slider away, but up, and sent it to the Brewers' bullpen for a three-run home run, the first of Bryant's promising career.

The Brewers reclaimed the lead with three runs in the bottom of the inning and Lohse held it through the fifth. He allowed four runs in all on seven hits, with one walk and seven strikeouts.

It was his second consecutive start of five innings and 100-plus pitches. They are atypical outings for a pitcher who makes a living inducing early contact.

"I think it's harder than it usually is for him," Brewers manager Craig Counsell said. "That's true, I think he'd tell you that. He'll go through stretches like that. Kyle is about execution, he's about making pitches, hitting spots with all four pitches and he has to do that. He's fighting himself a little bit at times but he still has the moxie to get through that, and today he did that."

Lohse exchanged ideas with injured catcher Jonathan Lucroy after exiting Saturday's game, and suggested that he has mechanical adjustments in mind. His next scheduled start is Friday against the Mets at Citi Field.

"It's kind of been one of those things where I feel really good, and I'm just running into a couple innings where they're fouling off a lot of pitches or I'm going deep in counts," he said. "You keep working on it."

Adam McCalvy is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @AdamMcCalvy. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.