The Phillies bolstered their starting rotation today by adding right-hander Kyle Lohse for a minor league pitcher, reportedly Double-A left-hander Matt Maloney.
Lohse, 29, was 6-12 with a 4.58 ERA in 21 starts for Cincinnati and had the fifth-worst run support in the National League at 3.69 runs per game. In his last five starts, Lohse is 3-2 with a 3.27 ERA, a .231 opponents' batting average and a 9.0-inning complete game. He pitched at least 6.0 innings in 15 of his 21 starts, including seven of his 12 losses.
"Kyle is a durable righthanded starter who has postseason experience," said Gillick. "We feel that with our offense and his ability to keep us in games, he will add pitching depth to our rotation."
Lohse pitched in the postseason with Minnesota in three consecutive years (2002-04) and went 0-2 with a 3.00 ERA in five games (one start). A resident of Scottsdale, Arizona, Lohse was originally selected by the Chicago Cubs in the 29th round of the 1996 draft and was traded to Minnesota in 1999. He made his major league debut with the Twins in 2001. In his career, Lohse is 60-74 with a 4.83 ERA, six complete games and four shutouts for the Twins (2001-06) and Reds (2006-07).
What the Cincinnati media says about Lohse: Here's a good article from this season. Quote: "When Reds starter Kyle Lohse is good, he's really, really good. When he's not, well, it can be a monster day for the opposition" ... "Scouts say Lohse's stuff is as good as anyone's on the Reds' staff, yet sometimes he struggles to put it all together. Lohse has spent time talking with pitching coach Dick Pole, watching tape and trying to pin down his differences. The biggest part, Lohse said, is not trying to be too perfect with his placement and getting ahead of hitters."
Matt Maloney (9-7, 3.94 ERA, 115/44 K/BB ratio, 13 homers, 125 IP) was an Eastern League all-star with Reading. Viewed by coaches and teammates as an improving and maturing pitcher with each start, the former third-round pick started turning it on in June after a rocky jump from Low-A Lakewood, going 4-2 with a 3.20 ERA in six June starts. A big guy at 6-4, 220, high-end projections rated him as a potential fourth starter, and Baseball America had him as the organization's 9th best prospect, hurt by his lack of velocity and secondary pitches.
Beerleaguer take: It's a fair trade for both clubs; and there should be no regrets about shoring up the starting rotation this way for the stretch drive. Lohse is an upgrade over Durbin and is having a better season than Eaton. He won't be the best pitcher in the rotation, but certainly won't be the worst. This also pushes Durbin into the Ryan Madson-less bullpen in all likelihood, a spot where the Real Deal might be able to devour some innings in long relief.
Since the Phillies don't have many position prospects, but have some pitching depth, you'd figure it would be a starter for the two-month, 10-start rental. Maloney had an impressive start July 21, going 8 2-3 with 10 strikeouts, so he's shown flashes at the Double-A level, but on the whole, probably ranks somewhere in the Phils' second tier of pitching prospects. I'm pretty comfortable with the best-case, back-end rotation projection for Maloney.
Overall, Maloney just isn't worth more than getting much-needed pitching help for a run at the post-season. Incidently, Lohse's turn in Cincinnati would have fallen tomorrow. This is the second good move for Gillick in the last four days.