Cincinnati Reds: Ranking the best pitchers for late-game situations

CINCINNATI, OH - AUGUST 4: Lucas Sims #39 of the Cincinnati Reds pitches (Photo by Jamie Sabau/Getty Images)
CINCINNATI, OH - AUGUST 4: Lucas Sims #39 of the Cincinnati Reds pitches (Photo by Jamie Sabau/Getty Images) /
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Michael Lorenzen #21 of the Cincinnati Reds reacts after being relieved
MILWAUKEE, WISCONSIN – AUGUST 09: Michael Lorenzen #21 of the Cincinnati Reds reacts after being relieved in the sixth inning (Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images) /

5. Will the real Michael Lorenzen please stand up?

What has happened to Michael Lorenzen in 2020? After a year in which he looked primed to become the Reds best reliever, Lorenzen has been a shadow of himself in the early-going. Lorenzen’s 16.88 ERA is fourth-worst among Cincinnati relievers. Mikey Biceps needs to figure out what’s wrong, and fast.

In seven games, Lorenzen has gone just 5.1 innings, allowed nine hits, 10 earned runs and walked five batters. Lorenzen’s allowed three home runs, the most of any Reds pitcher. Not just relievers, but starters as well. Anthony DeSclafani and Tyler Mahle, two of the Reds starters, have yet to allow a round-tripper.

So, why is Lorenzen even among the relief pitchers to be called upon when the game is on the line? Honestly, this is more about what Lorenzen has done in the past rather than what have you done for me lately. Last season, Lorenzen looked to be Cincinnati’s best option out of the bullpen. He ended 2019 with a 2.92 ERA in 73 relief appearances.

Hopefully Lorenzen will have a few opportunities in the coming days to enter a game without the pressure of being laser-sharp. Perhaps getting some confidence back that his stuff is good enough will increase David Bell’s trust in the right-hander. To begin the season, I’d have ranked Lorenzen No. 1, but right now, he’s barely hanging onto the No. 5 spot.