Lobstein gives Tigers just what they need, especially without Sanchez

Kyle Lobstein allows one run in 5 2-3 innings, giving up four hits and two walks and striking out three.

Rick Osentoski

DETROIT — The Tigers got the last thing they might have expected and just what they needed from a rookie Sunday night.

 

It was the only game on national television and the San Francisco Giants were looking for a sweep, backed by veteran Tim Hudson, who came in 9-9 with a 3.08 ERA.

Kyle Lobstein, making the third start of his major-league career as opposed to the 454th of Hudson’s, took everything in stride as he helped the Tigers earn a 6-1 victory.

Lobstein, who turned 25 last month, earned his first major-league win, allowing just one run on four hits while walking two and striking out three.

"I’m pretty excited, happy right now," Lobstein said. "It’s a great game, obviously, felt pretty strong with the outing. But in this case, no matter how it happened, I got the win for my first major league win so I’m pretty excited."

It often happens that a pitcher making his first appearance or first start in the big leagues has success because his opponents don’t know much about him. 

But after a few starts, there’s more to go on. 

So it makes it even more impressive what Lobstein has been able to do since joining the rotation.

Lobstein is actually pitching better than he did at Triple-A Toledo, when he was 9-11 with a 4.07 ERA.

With the Tigers, Lobstein is 1-0 with a 2.78 ERA and has allowed two or fewer runs in each of his first three starts.

"I don’t know if I can fully explain it," Tigers manager Brad Ausmus said. "I think there are some people who elevate their game when they’re on a brighter stage."

Lobstein, who has been able to settle into more of a routine than in his first two outings, has not looked overwhelmed and wasn’t again Sunday.

"There was a little nerves, but normal before any start," Lobstein said. "I feel like that focuses myself, so I felt like I was going into it focused and ready to get after it and just have fun with it."

Lobstein ran into a little trouble in the fifth inning, when he started to fall behind hitters and gave up the one run.

"It was the slider, just started getting a little rotational with my mechanics, obviously wasn’t throwing over top so just tried to reset and get ahead with the fastball," Lobstein said. "Try not to be as rotational. First few innings, mechanics felt really strong, really clean and crisp, everything was working off of that."

Catcher Alex Avila said learning how to get out of those situations is valuable for young pitchers like Lobstein.

"The tape is out on him," Avila said. "That’s my job. I got to make sure that when those guys try to adjust to him we’re able to adjust as well. He’s learning as well. I think each time he’s been able to pick something up a little bit about himself. (Sunday) was a perfect example."

Now Lobstein has some confidence that he can pitch at this level and have success.

With Anibal Sanchez still on the disabled list and not yet ready to start throwing off the mound, Lobstein could be just what the doctor ordered for the playoff-pushing Tigers.

"He’s done well," Torii Hunter said. "He keeps his composure. His ball’s moving all over the place. He moves the ball in and out of the zone, out and in the zone. That’s all you can ask for in a guy. Go out and keep the ball down, create ground balls.

"He’s pitching pretty well. This guy, seems like he’s been around the block a while."