Michael Lorenzen is a bit of a freak. Besides the fact that he’s lovingly called “Mikey Biceps” because he’s a physical specimen, the guy is just an incredible athlete. In college he was a center fielder who did some pitching out of the bullpen. He was very good at both. The Reds liked his skillset enough as a pitcher that they not only drafted him to play on the mound, but to develop as a starting pitcher. He reached the Major Leagues rather quickly, and spent his first season in the Major Leagues starting, but did find his way to the bullpen after that.
But while he was pitching, and doing so quite well at times throughout his career, he’s also held his own at the plate. And for a pitcher, he’s never looked anything remotely like one at the dish. But those first three seasons at the plate, he didn’t exactly jump out at you statistically, either. He hit .226/.241/.377 in 58 plate appearances. There was a triple and two homers in there, but there were also 20 strikeouts and no walks.
Last season that all changed. Michael Lorenzen was used more as a pinch hitter, and was given more opportunities to hit for himself and racked up 34 plate appearances. And he took full advantage of that, too, hitting .290/.333/.710 with a double and four home runs. This season he was hitting .313/.389/.375 in 18 plate appearances entering the game last night. The power wasn’t quite there – but he had been hitting the ball quite hard. He had 9 balls hit over 90 MPH. He had only put 10 balls in play.
On Wednesday night Michael Lorenzen connected for his first home run of the season. He took an 87 MPH offering and sent it out at 101 MPH, landing 387-feet away in the left field stands. It’s always impressive when a pitcher homers in a game – even one as talented as Michael Lorenzen. They simply don’t get as many opportunities to hit, so when it happens it’s always noteworthy.
But on Wednesday night the home run alone wasn’t anywhere near the biggest noteworthy thing that he did on the night, though it was part of it. Michael Lorenzen pitched in the game. Then he homered, hitting for himself. And then he moved into the outfield to play center field after that when Raisel Iglesias took over for the 9th inning after Lorenzen tossed two innings.
A home run. Two innings on the mound. Playing the outfield. Those two innings on the mound placed him in the box score as the pitcher credited with the win. That combination of things made him the first player since Babe Ruth to be credited with a win, hit a home run, and play in the field in the same game. Ruth did that in 1921. He did it against guys who were farmers in the offseason. He did it against only a portion of the population that was eligible to play in the Major Leagues. Lorenzen did it in a game where players are drawn in from all over the globe and are professional athletes year-round. Eat your heart out, Ruth.