MILWAUKEE — Kyle Lohse is always one to shoulder the blame when he feels he didn’t pitch well, but the veteran right-hander felt home plate umpire Chad Fairchild should share some of the responsibility Thursday afternoon.
According to Lohse, Fairchild told Brewers catcher Martin Maldonado that Lohse’s “grumpy face” was going to cost him strikes. The comment was supposedly made after Lohse surrendered a two-run home run to Nate Schierholtz in the third inning of Milwaukee’s 5-1 loss.
Lohse felt he had made a couple of good pitches to Schierholtz, but the count was 3-1 when the home run was hit.
“Not a whole lot of it was me,” Lohse said of his outing. “When you have an umpire that says your grumpy face is going to cost you strikes you’ve got issues. I wasn’t as consistent as I want to be, but I made a lot of really good pitches and I guess I looked funny out there and wasn’t going to get the calls.”
Maldonado wisely waited until after Lohse was out of the game to inform him of what Fairchild said, but the veteran right-hander was still upset in the clubhouse after the game.
“Luckily they didn’t tell me until later,” Lohse said. “It’s been awhile (since I’ve shown up an umpire). I’ve matured out there. I don’t think I did anything to show him up. I had a lot of calls that I thought could have went my way, I get the ball back and I made another pitch. Obviously it is frustrating but my job is to go out there and make pitches. I can’t do anything about what is called or not, but it’s just hard to adjust to something that’s inconsistent.”
And if Lohse had heard the comment either directly from Fairchild or from a teammate while he was still pitching?
“I didn’t hear it firsthand or I wouldn’t have lasted five innings,” Lohse said.
With all that said, Lohse did make clear he made mistakes on both of the home runs hit against him Thursday. Luis Valbuena put the Cubs up 1-0 with a solo home run to right field, while Schierholtz’s two-run home run made it 3-0 in the 3rd.
Lohse’s pitch count ran up to 100 pitches after five innings, ending his day with the three earned runs allowed.
“I’ve been around long enough, you’ve got to make pitches,” Lohse said. “The first home run I missed location and threw a pitch that came right back into him. Schierholtz’s at-bat, there were a couple of pitches in there that changed the whole complexion of the game really. When you change a count from 1-2 or 2-2 possibly to 3-1, I’m not going to walk a guy but I’m not getting that low, outside corner. I’m going to challenge a guy and I got beat there. I still have to make a pitch. He put a good swing on it. That changes the whole ballgame right there, especially when you have a guy throwing the ball as well as the other guy was. It puts you in too big of a hole on a day like today.”
The game ended with Brewers left manager Ron Roenicke in an argument with Fairchild after he rung up Brewers left fielder Logan Schafer for the final out on a 3-2 pitch appearing to be out of the strike zone.
Schafer threw his batting helmet and bat in anger and exchanged words with Fairchild as Roenicke came out onto the field. Fairchild pointed at Schafer indicating he was issuing a citation for throwing equipment. The fine from the citation ranges from $100 to $500.
Lohse didn’t remember having a history with Fairchild or any event that could have caused him to make the comment.
“Just let us play the game,” Lohse said. “Don’t let egos get in the way. There were other things going on out there. We’re trying to play the game. Just let us play.”