Lohse still adjusting to new bullpen role
MILWAUKEE -- Two weeks into his stint as one of baseball's highest-priced middle relievers, Kyle Lohse still cannot say the role feels comfortable. By definition, every one of his outings is uncomfortable.
Take Monday, when Lohse surrendered a run while logging the final two innings of the Brewers' 6-2 loss to the Marlins at Miller Park. It was his fourth appearance since the move to the bullpen. All have come in losses.
"It's a tough situation," Lohse said on Monday afternoon. "Obviously, the kind of games I'll be getting in, I know the situation. I've been that guy who's fourth or fifth in the playoff rotation earlier in my career, and that's a tough one, too. You want to pitch in the playoffs, but you know it's going to take a [bad] situation. It's going to be a short start for the starter, or you're way behind, or even way ahead.
"You want to be in there competing. That's what I love to do. So it's still working on stuff. If I get a chance to do it in a game, I do it in a game, and we'll see how it pans out in the end."
Lohse is earning $11 million in the final season of a three-year contract, but he was bumped from the rotation during the Brewers' last homestand in favor of rookie Tyler Cravy, a right-hander who will make a third start in Lohse's spot on Tuesday night. Cravy is still seeking his first Major League win.
"I think Kyle has done a really nice job in going to the bullpen and taking that as a fresh start and using that as a point where he can gain something," Brewers manager Craig Counsell said. "He's adapted to it really well. I expected him to. That's one thing Kyle is really good at -- he is adaptable. He's a pro. He's able to quickly find his niche. If you are 37 and still pitching in the big leagues, you are pretty adaptable."
The Brewers are now 7-19 in games Lohse has pitched, including his starts. Other Brewers relievers can relate, including Neal Cotts (Milwaukee is 13-36 when he's pitched), Corey Knebel (11-20) and Tyler Thornburg (0-10).
"It is different," Counsell said. "I think the best way to treat it is to just get outs. Outs are still important. I think the games [Lohse] pitched in, we've been losing so far, but when you are pitching in the fifth inning at 6-1, we still have a chance to win that game. If you get six outs there, those are big outs to give us a chance to get back in it."