Reds pitcher matches Babe Ruth with performance not seen in 98 years
Being mentioned in the same breath as Babe Ruth means you’ve accomplished something remarkable on the baseball field.
For Cincinnati Reds do-it-all player Michael Lorenzen, it meant equaling a feat that only the Babe himself had accomplished during a game with the New York Yankees back on June 13, 1921.
Channeling Babe Ruth
In Wednesday’s 8-5 victory against the Philadelphia Phillies, Lorenzen joined Ruth as the only two players in MLB history to earn the win as a pitcher, hit a home run and play a position in the field during the same game.
Lorenzen first entered the game as a pitcher in the seventh inning. He was actually charged with a blown save after allowing a game-tying home run to Jay Bruce, but was put in line to win after Jose Iglesias homered a half-inning later.
In the eighth inning, Lorenzen pitched a scoreless frame before padding Cincinnati’s lead with a two-run home run against veteran reliever Blake Parker.
Though it was Lorenzen’s first home run in this season, it was far from a surprise to see him go yard. In fact, Hall of Fame broadcaster Marty Brennaman even predicted Lorenzen was due for a home run.
In 31 at-bats last season, Lorenzen hit four home runs. For his career, he now has eight.
As he’s frequently done this season, Reds manager David Bell moved Lorenzen to the outfield as a defensive upgrade after his pitching stint was over. Lorenzen played the entire ninth inning in center field as closer Raisel Iglesias secured the save and his place in history.
National League’s best kept secret
While Shohei Ohtani has received endless hype as a two-way star in the American League, Michael Lorenzen has been carving out a similar role in the National League to much less fanfare over the last two seasons.
Granted, Lorenzen’s skills as both a pitcher and hitter might not be considered elite like Ohtani’s are when he’s at full strength. Yet still, Lorenzen is putting his own spin on it by actually playing a position other than pitcher in the field. That’s something Ohtani has not yet done, and might never do after undergoing Tommy John surgery.
It takes unique talent and undeniable dedication to excel in what is essentially three different roles when you add playing the outfield into the mix. That Lorenzen is now trusted to do so regularly confirms he is talented enough and is dedicated to making it work.
That he made history in the process is just icing on the cake.
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