Cardinals now have to regroup for 2013
BY R.B. FALLSTROM Associated Press
Wednesday, October 24, 2012
10/24/12 at 3:50 AM
ST. LOUIS - Kyle Lohse got to bed at 5:30 a.m. after the St. Louis Cardinals' flight following a most unpleasant end to the NL championship series against the San Francisco Giants.
Fatigue only added to the aftershock of a spectacular nosedive as players cleaned out their lockers Tuesday at an empty stadium still adorned with bunting. The pitcher's mound and home plate area were also covered in anticipation of a World Series opener that won't take place in St. Louis.
It might be the end of the line with the Cardinals for Lohse, who confessed to being a bit "delirious" from lack of sleep while discussing his future.
The rotation is full if Jaime Garcia rehabs successfully from a shoulder injury, with Adam Wainwright, Chris Carpenter, Lance Lynn and Jake Westbrook under contract.
Given a choice, Lohse would like to stay put.
"Yeah, definitely," he said. "It's been a great place for me. A lot of teams just try to be competitive, but this organization is all about trying to win another ring."
Then he added, "It's a business. It's a fun game, but a business. I haven't heard anything here, so that doesn't sound good."
The 34-year-old Lohse is in a much better spot than in 2008, when he bided his time by throwing to college hitters early in spring training before signing a one-year deal with the Cardinals in March.
He didn't make it to free agency after that season, getting a four-year, $41 million extension in late September.
This time he is coming off his best season, going 16-3 with a 2.79 ERA.
Wherever he ends up, Lohse stressed that he wants to play for a winning organization.
"I'm not going to be obviously jumping at the first offer out there," Lohse said. "It's too early right now because I don't know which teams are interested, and obviously I haven't heard from anybody.
"It's got to be a good situation."
Nearly everyone else will return next year for another try.
They will need a while to purge the awful taste of blowing a 3-1 series lead to the Giants and missing a chance to defend their World Series title.
The handful of players who showed up during the time reporters were allowed in the clubhouse on Tuesday tried their best to accentuate the positive.
Center fielder Jon Jay had empathy for the Washington Nationals, who seemed to have the Cardinals right where they wanted them before coughing up a 6-0 lead in Game 5 of the NL division series, and the Rangers, who were on the verge of closing out the World Series in six games last year.
"It's tough to swallow, but in baseball that's the way it goes," Jay said. "We were on the other end of the stick last year. It was a great ride, and now we know what it feels like."
Cardinals starting pitcher Kyle Lohse sits on the bench during the fourth inning of Game 7, a series-ending loss for the Cardinals. The 34-year-old right-hander finished the regular season with a career-best 16-3 record. DAVID J. PHILLIP / Associated Press