Right-hander Michael Lorenzen will be on the mound for the Los Angeles Angels on Monday night in Anaheim, Calif., when they begin a four-game series against the Cleveland Guardians.
Lorenzen (1-1, 4.82 ERA) is showing that the club’s decision to move him into the rotation is a good one after he spent the previous six seasons as a reliever.
He’s had one good start and one not-so-good, holding the Miami Marlins to one run in six innings in his first start on April 11. But last Monday against the Houston Astros, he gave up four runs and was knocked out of the game after 3 1/3 innings.
It was that first start, in which he struck out seven and did not walk a batter, that the Angels were counting on when they signed him to a one-year, $7 million contract after seven seasons with the Cincinnati Reds.
And though Lorenzen had not been a regular starter since his rookie year of 2015, he said he felt all along that his stuff plays better in a starting role because of his vast repertoire. He throws six pitches — four-seam fastball, sinker, cutter, slider, curve and changeup.
“I worked really hard this offseason to get my stuff where it needs to be,” he said. “It’s a lot more fun in the rotation. I’m able to use everything and set guys up certain ways for the next time through. It’s just more fun to do that instead of being limited. I have too many pitches to be limited in the bullpen, so I was just able to take advantage of my pitch profile.”
Against Cleveland, Lorenzen is 1-1 with a 4.50 ERA in eight career games, all relief appearances.
Shane Bieber will start for the Guardians. He is 1-0 with a 2.25 ERA in three starts. He has 16 strikeouts and three walks as the club keeps a close eye on his arm health.
Bieber won the American League Cy Young Award in 2020 but last season missed three months because of an injured shoulder. When he finally returned in September, he was limited to two starts the rest of the way.
“I would have liked to be back out there as quick as possible,” Bieber said. “I guess the silver lining was I learned a lot about myself and I tried to stay as patient as possible.”
Even during spring training this season, he pitched only 4 2/3 innings in two games, the club preferring to more closely monitor him as he pitched against teammates in intrasquad games. Bieber has accepted the club’s process for him.
“I know we talked every now and then during the year last year about trying to be a good teammate and a good person in general,” Bieber said. “That’s what I try to focus on: ‘How do I level up myself, not just as an athlete, as a pitcher, but as a teammate and as a person?'”
Bieber, a native of Orange County, Calif. (Laguna Hills High School), has had success in his career against the Angels, going 3-0 with a 2.08 ERA in three starts.
–Field Level Media