Kyle Lohse spent parts of his first six seasons in the major leagues with the Minnesota Twins of the American League. Since then he has spent portions of eight seasons with four teams in the National League. This, of course, is not notable in any way. Winning at least one game against every team in baseball? That would be notable, and only possible for a player who has spent enough time facing both circuits.
Lohse has that opportunity Thursday night when he and the Brewers face the Twins. Just 12 pitchers have done it before, a fact noted by Chris Jaffe of The Hardball Times The list features quite a few recognizable names, with Curt Schilling, Randy Johnson and Barry Zito among them as well as less-heralded pitchers Woody Williams or Vicente Padilla. (Wise readers will note there have only been 30 teams since the Rays and Diamondbacks joined in 1997, meaning you have had to pitch pretty recently to make this list.)
This will be Lohse's first start against his former club, a team he was never particularly good with but always useful for -- a comment that could be made about pretty much every starter not named Johan Santana during those years of Twins dominance a decade ago. Yet with an ERA of 4.90 during his years there (notably worse than his 4.04 FIP), Lohse's staying power helped him to win 50 games 2001-06, a figure exceeded only by Santana and Radke.
The move to the NL proved to be a good one. Despite being essentially the same pitcher -- his strikeout rate went up a bit, his walk rate down, yet batters neither found excessive successes nor failures -- Lohse shaved nearly a run off his annual ERA: 4.88 with the Twins and 4.06 since leaving them. Even in 2012, a season he placed seventh in Cy Young Award voting after going 16-3 with a 2.86 ERA, batters struck out a little more than 16 percent of the time and walked a little more than 4. He just seemed to strand them a bit more. He's actually been about the same pitcher in every way in his first season with Milwaukee, but that fickle win-loss record has turned to 1-6 despite a 3.76 ERA.
The Twins aren't bad this year, but at 22-26 they're not particularly good either. What they have been good at is beating the Brewers. Minnesota's going for a four-game sweep after 6-3, 6-5 (in 14 innings) and 4-1 wins. Only three Twins have faced Lohse, and none no more recent than 2011. Minnesota starter P.J. Walters will be starting just his second game this year after compiling a 5.69 ERA in 12 starts last season.
The game is scheduled for 8 p.m. ET at Minnesota. Unfortunately, it is not MLB.tv's free game of the day.