Reds notes: Lorenzen laments ‘terrible pitch’

Cincinnati Reds relief pitcher Michael Lorenzen in the sixth inning of a baseball game after giving up a three-run home run to Milwaukee Brewers’ Orlando Arcia, Tuesday, April 2, 2019, in Cincinnati. (AP Photo/John Minchillo)

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Cincinnati Reds relief pitcher Michael Lorenzen in the sixth inning of a baseball game after giving up a three-run home run to Milwaukee Brewers’ Orlando Arcia, Tuesday, April 2, 2019, in Cincinnati. (AP Photo/John Minchillo)

The Cincinnati Reds seemed to have the Milwaukee Brewers right where they wanted them in the sixth inning on Tuesday night.

Sure, the Brewers had runners on first and third, but there were two outs and 0-for-16 Orlando Arcia was due to up to face Michael Lorenzen, who was fresh out of the bullpen

Instead, Lorenzen failed to properly execute a cutter. Arcia was able to launch a fly ball to the opposite field that reached Cincinnati’s bullpen down the right field line, turning a 1-1 tie into a 4-1 Milwaukee lead that led to a 4-3 win.

“It was supposed to be a cutter away and it went middle in,” said Lorenzen, who was making his second pitching appearance of the season. “I didn’t execute. A guy like him who swings a ton … It was just a terrible pitch on my part. Then we score a couple of runs. If I do my job, we win the game. This one’s on me.”

Lorenzen wasn’t surprised to see the hard-swinging Brewers’ shortstop, who had 22 homers in 331 career games before Tuesday, hit one out – even to the opposite field.

“Stadium’s small, he swings hard, it’s got a chance,” Lorenzen said. “It was a terrible game plan and terrible execution on my part. … I’ve got to get better.”

First-year manager David Bell gave little to no thought to intentionally walking Arcia to get to the pitcher’s slot and perhaps force Milwaukee manager Craig Counsell to use a pinch-hitter, especially with noted Reds killers Ryan Braun and Eric Thames lurking on the Brewers’ bench. Thames hit a combined 14 homers against the Reds in 2017 and 2018. Braun has hit more career home runs against the Reds than against any other team.

“They had (reliever Alex) Glaudio up and Braun and Thames were available with the bases loaded,” Bell pointed out. “You have to go after Arcia there.”

Go for broke: As Lorenzen mentioned, the Reds pulled to within one going into the ninth inning and got the leadoff runner on base. In a last-ditch effort to keep the rally alive, Bell sent his last available position player – Kyle Farmer – up to pinch-hit for pitcher Robert Stephenson with two outs in the ninth. Farmer popped up to Arcia in foul territory to end the game.

Bell’s approach is to do everything he can to win the game any time an opportunity presents itself. Having already used Matt Kemp to pinch-hit for starting pitcher Anthony DeSclafani in the fifth, Bell sent Jose Iglesias up to pinch-hit for Derek Dietrich with two runners in scoring position in the sixth and used catcher Curt Casali to pinch-hit for reliever Wandy Peralta in the seventh.

If the Reds had forced extra innings, Bell’s bench would’ve been empty, which he didn’t see as a problem.

“I don’t mind doing everything I can to tie or win a game,” Bell said before Wednesday’s game. “Hopefully, that happens, where we have to try to figure it out. I wouldn’t save anybody, just in case.”

Start for Casali: After starting each of Cincinnati's first four games, catcher Tucker Barnhart didn't start Wednesday's day game following Tuesday's night game. Curt Casali got the call.

“I’m just getting Curt in there,” Bell said. “I know Tucker can handle playing a day game after a night game, but I just thought it was a good day to get Curt in the lineup.”

Hit the road: The Reds left after Wednesday's game for their first road trip of the season, a brief four-game visit to Pittsburgh that is scheduled to open on Thursday at 7:05 p.m. Right-hander Tyler Mahle (7-9, 4.98 earned-run average last season) is scheduled to start for the Reds against right-hander Jordan Lyles (3-4, 4.11 in 2018).

Mahle originally was scheduled to pitch against Milwaukee on Wednesday with right-hander Luis Castillo going against the Pirates on Thursday, but Bell wanted to avoid giving Pittsburgh a second look at Castillo in just eight days. Mahle, though, is 0-3 with a 5.91 ERA in four career starts against Pittsburgh.

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