by Steve Mancuso

Lorenzen leads Reds to 7-3 series win over White Sox

How about that. A series win over the best team in the American League.

The Reds are back to .500 at 27-27 and have won three series in a row. They’ve won 8 of the last 10. Much has rightly been made of the “Big Three” of the Reds starting rotation, that being Sonny Gray, Luis Castillo and Trevor Bauer. Let it be known throughout the land that the Reds won twice against the White Sox in games started by Tyler Mahle and Michael Lorenzen. They outscored Chicago 14-9.

The next six Reds games, three at home against the Brewers (26-26) and three on the road in Minnesota (32-22), will determine whether the Reds make a postseason series for the first time since 2012. The Reds remain in the thick of it for second place in the NL Central division and the two NL Wild Card slots.

The games against the Brewers will be the Reds most important series since 2013. Beginning tomorrow night.

The Pitching

Michael Lorenzen backed up a terrific start against the Pirates on Tuesday with another outstanding performance today. Lorenzen hasn’t started since the end of 2018. The last time he was a full-time starter was 2015. He threw 93 pitches and gave up three singles, two of which didn’t crack 68 mph exit velocity and the third was hit 87.5 mph. Lorenzen walked two and struck out 8, including whiffing the 4-5-6 hitters in the fourth. The start was all the more impressive given the quality of the opposing lineup. The final batter he faced, with two runners on base, was Tim Anderson who he struck out on a pitch that bounced well in front of home. The two earned runs credited against Lorenzen scored after he left the game.

Lorenzen’s two starts made a case for switching him back to starting next year. In 9.2 innings, he struck out 14 and walked two. The Reds may lose Trevor Bauer and Anthony DeSclafani to free agency. Tyler Mahle has a rock solid argument for being one replacement. Tejay Antone raised a few eyebrows. Earlier in his career, Lorenzen had a couple health issues that may or may not have been related to workload. A soft conventional wisdom developed that consigned Lorenzen to the same box as Raisel Iglesias, as needing to stay in the bullpen to protect his arm. Lorenzen has one more year with the Reds and offers much more value to the club as a starter than as a reliever.

Lucas Sims relieved Lorenzen with two on and two outs in the 5th. He induced a soft, opposite field ground ball that turned into a infield single. A rocket down the left field line by Jose Abreu made the score 5-2. Sims retired the next batter to end the inning. Sims returned to pitch the 7th and got into trouble walking the first two batters. But after a visit by pitching coach Derek Johnson, Sims was a different guy, striking out the side. The final out was a fantastic 11-pitch battle with Abreu. The AL MVP front runner fouled off five Sims 2-strike pitches before the Reds reliever got a 95-mph fastball by him for the third strike and third out.

Archie Bradley pitched the 8th making his 6th appearance for the Reds. He gave up a solo home run to former Reds third baseman Edwin Encarnacion. It was the first run Bradley had given up in a Reds uniform. Encarnacion hit a 95-mph fastball that was several inches outside.

Raisel Iglesias pitched a 1-2-3 9th inning on 9 pitches.

The Bats

For five innings, it was a strange day for the Reds offense, then suddenly familiar.

The Reds began the bottom of the 4th with the score tied 0-0. They hadn’t scored in 13 innings and hadn’t recorded a hit in this game. In fact, they hadn’t managed to hit the ball out of the infield. But wildness by the White Sox pitchers that had been evident the first three innings finally came back to haunt, as walks will.

Chicago’s starter Dylan Cease walked Jesse Winker, Brian Goodwin and Freddy Galvis to start the inning. Manager Rick Renteria pulled Cease, who had walked a total of seven. Veteran lefty Ross Detwiler got Tucker Barnhart and Aristides Aquino to ground out, but each was hit softly enough the White Sox couldn’t turn a double play, making the score 2-0. Aquino was pinch hitting for Shogo Akiyama. The White Sox walked Nick Castellanos to face Joey Votto only to walk Votto to load the bases. Eugenio Suarez drew a walk to make the score 3-0. Then Mike Moustakas hit a ground ball in the hole near second base for a single, driving in two. The Reds lead 5-0.

The Reds added two runs in the bottom of the 5th when Freddy Galvis singled. Galvis has lost playing time to rookie Jose Garcia, but after his double in the 6th inning, he had reached base six times in a row. Garcia has been excellent in the field, as advertised. But in 64 plate appearances, he’s hitting just .206/.219/.206. Yes, that’s 1 walk against 25 strikeouts and no extra base hits. It sets up an interesting playing time decision this week for Bell.

An out after Galvis’ single, Aquino blasted a Detwiler fastball 428 feet to left center field. It was his second homer of the season. The Reds led 7-2.

With three walks, Joey Votto set the record for the most career walks in a Reds uniform with 1,211.

Vital Stats

Most Valuable Player

  • Michael Lorenzen .224 WPA (win probability added)
  • Freddy Galvis .125 WPA
  • Aristides Aquino .089 WPA

Hardest-Hit Balls

  • Jesse Winker 110.3 mph | single
  • Aristides Aquino 107.6 mph home run
  • Freddy Galvis 106.7 mph | single
  • Nick Senzel 100.0 | fly out

Highest Velocities by Pitcher

  • Michael Lorenzen 98.0
  • Raisel Iglesias 96.8
  • Lucas Sims 96.2 mph
  • Archie Bradley 95.3 mph

xBA (expected batting average)

  • Reds .243
  • White Sox .163

What’s Next?

The Brewers, starting tomorrow. We’ll have detailed previews in the morning.

Steve Mancuso is a lifelong Reds fan who grew up during the Big Red Machine era. He’s been writing about the Reds for more than ten years. Steve’s fondest memories about the Reds include attending a couple 1975 World Series games, being at Homer Bailey’s second no-hitter and going nuts for Jay Bruce at Clinchmas. Steve was also at all three games of the 2012 NLDS, but it’s too soon to talk about that.

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7 months ago

I can’t believe baseball. I was so discouraged after the loss to the Cardinals last Saturday night. I thought the Reds were toast. So what do they do? Win seven of the next eight games. And Micheal Lorenzen who started the season pitching like he was auditioning for a role to play J.J. Hoover turns in two great games. Go figure. This is going to be an interesting final week.

7 months ago
Reply to  kmartin

Thumbs up. That one tough win against the Cardinals on Sunday, followed by a 10 game home stand, ignited them.

7 months ago

I think your description of Lorenzen’s performance is a good illustration that ERA can be a misleading performance metric. If you just look at the box score and see two earned runs in 4.2 innings then the ERA is very mediocre. However, when you consider the quality of the opposing lineup and the fact that he gave up no extra base hits and that two of the singles were very low exit velocity you come away impressed.

7 months ago

Lorenzen should be in the starting rotation in 2021. I don’t mean competing for a spot in the spring, I mean slated for the starting rotation. It isn’t just about pitching well in two games. There’s a long history here and I was confident he would pitch the way he did. He has 4 good pitches and nasty stuff overall, it’s a waste to have him in the bullpen. He had one good season in the pen last year when he was promoted to high leverage situations, but otherwise he hasn’t taken to it.

Iglesias a totally different story. He was a reliever in Cuba (unlike Chapman) and liked that. With his great stuff the Reds gave him a chance to start, but as a starter he went on the DL 3 times with elbow injuries. Enough already. He loves coming out of the bullpen in high adrenalin, high leverage situations and is very effective at it, you need a pitcher on your staff like that. I hate the very limited use of closer as started by LaRussa but Bell has used him for multiple innings when needed.

Nick Carrington
Nick Carrington
7 months ago
Reply to  Steve Mancuso

If the Reds think Lorenzen is a starter, I’d try to lock him up for 2-3 years. He’s not going to be paid as a starter, so it should be affordable.

If they can’t reach an agreement, then I would see what the trade market looks like. If someone is willing to give up something useful, they’ve got to do it.

7 months ago

The Reds bullpen has become an important strength. Bradley was an excellent addition. When was the last time the Reds had two back end relievers as reliable as Bradley and Iglesias are right now ? Maybe you have to go back to Chapman and Marshall in 2012.
And Sims and Garret, not even mentioning the long men Antone and Lorenzen.

7 months ago

For the final decisive week and (hopefully) the postseason, I prefer Galvis to Garcia. Galvis has pop from both sides, a .160 ISO LHed and a .234 ISO RHed this season. Batting righty he’s at .261/.284/.380 in his career. Not gaudy numbers but a platoon with Garcia doesn’t make sense either. BTW over his career, his lefty and righty splits are close to identical.

I definitely see Garcia as the Reds SS of the future, his defense is beautiful to watch and his hitting is gradually improving.