Cincinnati Reds: Michael Lorenzen’s start can be cheered and questioned

(Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)
(Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images) /

Michael Lorenzen has been one of the steadiest arms in the bullpen for the Cincinnati Reds this year, but on Tuesday he’ll get a chance to start.

Tyler Mahle will not get the start for the Cincinnati Reds on Tuesday night in Milwaukee. Instead, Michael Lorenzen, who’s been a reliever all season, will get his first start of the 2018 season. Lorenzen started 21 games back in his rookie season of 2015.

As a starting pitcher in 2015, Michael Lorenzen went 4-9 with 5.40 ERA. He struck out 83 batters and walked 57 that season. His WHIP of 1.659 was the highest of his career, however, it was Lorenzen’s rookie season.

While Lorenzen has shown an ability to start in the past, the questionable part about the Cincinnati Reds’ decision is not whether he’s deserving, but rather do you want to remove that weapon from the bullpen. Lorenzen has excelled as long reliever this season.

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The Reds bullpen may be the best group of players on this year’s team. Jared Hughes has been dominant. David Hernandez, last night’s debacle aside, has been worth every penny the Reds ponied up in the offseason. But, one of the most reliable relievers this season has been Michael Lorenzen.

Lorenzen has appeared in 42 games this season. He’s carrying a 3.21 ERA across innings pitched and struck out 49 batters. On 26 occasions this season, Lorenzen has pitched multiple innings and on 16 occasions he’s entered the game with inherited runners on base.

Lorenzen has not only pitched well this season, but he’s hit well too. He’s hitting .308 with a 1.141 OPS. Lorenzen has 4 home runs and 9 RBIs in 26 at-bats.

Michael Lorenzen had a pinch-hit grand slam against the Milwaukee Brewers at the end of June, and three of his four home runs this season have come against Milwaukee. So, a start against the Brewers is only fitting.

Cincinnati Reds interim manager Jim Riggleman, via, chimed in on why Lorenzen is getting the start on Tuesday:

"“Mike has probably come in my office 15 times [and said], ‘I want to start. I want to start. I want to start. We feel like, ‘Let’s look at Mike for a start or two and see where it goes.’ The problem with that is he does a good job for us where he’s at. We would lose him there. But we are looking at ’19 and who is going to be our starters. We have an idea who some of them will be, but we will look at Mike here a little bit. It’ll be a very small sample, but we’ll get a little feel for it.”"

So, this is obviously an opportunity for Lorenzen to showcase what he can do as a starter. Personally, I love seeing Lorenzen as a reliever. I think he gives the Reds a solid reliever out of the pen who can go multiple innings, and with how Riggleman enjoys the double-switch, allows the Reds’ manager to plug Lorenzen in for multiple innings of relief, knowing how he handles the bat.

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We’ve seen Lorenzen enter all kinds of situations this season. He’s come in as early as the second inning and as late as the 10th. He’s faced one batter and faced 17. He’s closed a game, and now he gets a chance to start a game.