Kyle Lohse thinks pitching on 12 days' rest should not be a problem.
Scheduled to start Game 4 of the NL championship series for St. Louis, the right-hander hasn't pitched since the opener of the division series in Philadelphia on Oct. 1. He couldn't hold an early 3-0 lead in that game, giving up six runs — five earned — in 5 1-3 innings of an 11-6 loss.
Lohse's turn didn't come up again in the NLDS, and Cardinals manager Tony La Russa opted to go with Jaime Garcia and Edwin Jackson in the first two games of the NLCS in Milwaukee and ace Chris Carpenter in Game 3.
Lohse has some experience with long layoffs this season — with mostly good results. He went from July 8-19 without a start, returning with a 4-2 loss to the Mets in which he gave up four earned runs in 5 2-3 innings. He had an extended gap from Aug. 4-12, then gave up one earned run in 6 1-3 innings in a 6-1 win over Colorado. And he returned after eight days off on Sept. 6 to throw six shutout innings in a 4-2 win over the Brewers.
"I've been able to deal with it pretty well," Lohse said.
He acknowledged things were a little different this time because he was available in the bullpen in the final games of the series with the Phillies.
"But I've just tried to stay sharp, throwing flat grounds," Lohse said. "I'm doing everything I can to keep myself mentally prepared and that's about all you can do."
Bumps and bruises
Detroit is without injured outfielders Brennan Boesch and Magglio Ordonez, and outfielder Delmon Young has been banged up as well during the ALCS.
Then Victor Martinez hurt his ribcage during a Game 3 swing, although he was able to stay in the game.
"Victor Martinez is one of the toughest guys I've ever been around," manager Jim Leyland said. "I take my hat off, and Delmon Young the same."
Leyland penciled both Martinez and Young into his starting lineup for Game 4 on Wednesday, and he was also impressed with Texas third baseman Adrian Beltre, who fouled a pitch off his left knee Tuesday night but never had to leave the game.
Meanwhile, Tigers catcher Alex Avila, who seems to be battered by a foul ball almost every game, isn't 100 percent either. He entered Wednesday in a 2-for-29 slump in the postseason.
"Alex is banged up pretty good," Leyland said. "It's hard for the average person to understand what these guys are going through."
His knee was swelling up pretty good not too long ago."
Leyland even sympathized a bit with the reporters in the room.
"You guys are probably banged up. You've been traveling all over the place," he said. "You're probably tired. I hope you're getting overtime. I'm serious."
TEXAS-SIZED RIVALRY?: Nolan Ryan, now a part-owner of the Texas Rangers, says he'd like the Houston Astros to face his team on a regular basis.
"It would be good for us to have another Central Time Zone team in our division," Ryan said this week. "It would be great for baseball to have two teams in Texas competing against each other on a head-to-head basis."
Ryan pitched for both the Rangers and Astros during his playing career.
SEATING CONCERNS: A Major League Baseball official insists there was no gamesmanship involved when relatives of Brewer players arrived at Busch Stadium to find seats down the right field line, a less-than-desireable location.
The visiting players' wives and children sit closer to the middle of the ballpark during the regular season. But wives and kids of the Brewers arrived Wednesday to find their approximate 150 seats in a suite down the line beyond first base, much to their dismay. Some complained to their husbands.
Brewers manager Ron Roenicke admitted it was a minor distraction, but a distraction nonetheless.
"You know, it was a little bit of a concern," he said. "I think they cleaned it up OK. I don't know exactly. But you know, it's little distractions that certainly I don't want players to have to worry about."
MLB senior vice president Katy Feeney explained that because of season ticket priorities, the Cardinals moved the families to luxury boxes in the outfield, just as they did for the Phillies in the first round, for the Dodgers in 2009 and for the 2009 All-Star game.
She said the families are staying in connected suites. "The kids can run around," she said. "They still get food and drinks."
The Brewers also had another 200 tickets spread around the stadium in groups of 2s and 4s, for front office personnel, friends of players and other guests.