Struggling Lorenzen searching to recapture no-no mojo

Struggling Lorenzen searching to recapture no-no mojo: People were dreaming after Michael Lorenzen’s first two starts with the Phillies.

After throwing eight strong innings in Miami on Aug. 3, he threw the 14th no-hitter in Phillies history at Citizens Bank Park on Aug. 9. As a way of remembering that magical night at Citizens Bank Park, Lorenzen was presented with bronze replicas of the spikes he wore when baffled the Nationals on Tuesday afternoon.

Struggling Lorenzen searching to recapture no-no mojo
Struggling Lorenzen searching to recapture no-no mojo

Lorenzen has not been the same since his no-hitter, however. In Tuesday night’s 8-0 loss to the Padres at Petco Park, he allowed seven runs (six earned), moving the Cubs to within one and a half games of the Phillies in the NL Wild Card race.

  • There are five games left: at SD (1), vs. MIA (3), vs. ATL (4), at STL (3), at ATL (4), vs. NYM (4), vs. PIT (3), at NYM (3)
  • In the NL Wild Card race, the Phillies hold a 1 1/2-game lead over the Cubs. They are 4 1/2 games ahead of the Reds, five ahead of the Marlins, and 5 1/2 ahead of the D-backs.

My job is to get big league hitters out and keep our team in a good position to win a baseball game. I feel like I’ve failed quite often at that,” Lorenzen said.

In four starts since his no-hitter, Lorenzen is 1-2 with an 8.14 ERA. He has allowed 32 hits, 22 runs (19 earned), nine walks, and six home runs in 21 innings, striking out just 11.

There is a lot of speculation about why he has gone sideways.

Lorenzen’s four-seam fastball averaged 94.6 mph against the Padres, which is 0.3 mph more than his season average and his best single-game mark since early June.

In his first two starts with the Phillies, he struck out 23 times on 107 swings (21.5%). Since then, he has struck out 29 times on 161 swings (18%).

Lorenzen threw only 56.3% of his pitches for strikes (53 of 94) against the Padres. It was his lowest strike percentage in a start since April 25, 2022. Lorenzen threw 65.8% of his pitches for strikes in his first two starts with the Phillies. He’s thrown 62.5% for strikes since.

It may be the result of throwing 124 pitches in the no-hitter.

‘One hundred twenty-four pitches, that takes its toll,’ said Phillies manager Rob Thomson.

Maybe it is the cumulative effect of throwing a career-high 143 2/3 innings in 2015. Lorenzen’s previous career high was 113 1/3 innings in 2015.

In any season since, he had not thrown more than 97 2/3 innings.

Honestly, I don’t know what to say about that. My veil was fine today. … I don’t know how much to look into that. But I’m not going to make an excuse.

My body feels great. The stuff is great. I need to be better. I don’t know if I am overthinking, trying to overdo things or something else, but you have to simplify things, challenge them, and then the singles happen. Because singles happen, you have to try to make better pitches. You don’t get the swing-and-miss you want, so that leads you to make better pitches, which leads to walking guys.”

Until Monday’s doubleheader against the Braves, the Phils will stick to a six-man rotation. Lorenzen was acquired from the Tigers on Aug. 1, and the Phils said he could move into the bullpen at some point, if needed. After that, they will think carefully about their options.

He was noted for his workload and previous experience pitching out of the bullpen.

Thomson said the team has discussed piggybacking him and [Cristopher Sánchez] depending on what the opposing team’s lineup looks like. “We’re looking at a lot of options.”

For the stretch drive, Lorenzen must return to form.

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