The Cincinnati Reds are the hottest team in baseball right now. They’ve won nine of their past 10 games and a big reason is the return of pitcher Michael Lorenzen.
The 26-year-old relief pitcher returned from injury on May 23 and has since appeared in 14 games, going 1-0 in 20.1 innings with a 1.77 ERA.
And he’s also contributing at the plate. On June 24, he hit a pinch-hit home run in helping Cincinnati rally from a five-run deficit to beat the Cubs, 8-6.
— MLB (@MLB) June 24, 2018
Lorenzen was selected by the Reds in the first round of the 2013 MLB Amateur Draft and made his big league debut April 29, 2015. After starting 21 games in 2015, he’s been primarily used as a reliever in 2016, ’17 and into this season.
Aside from baseball, Lorenzen also is a follower of Jesus Christ. In 2016, he shared with Renewed Strength Fitness how he came to faith in God after growing up in a broken home with both of his parents struggling with alcohol and drugs.
“I started smoking weed, the first time I smoked was in eighth grade,” Lorenzen said. “The first time I got drunk was also in eighth grade. One day, I went on this pier with all of my buddies, we were high and we went on to the pier to get some food. I was 16 or 17 and this guy was sharing about Jesus. He asked us if he could share something about God with us, and we kind of looked and him and laughed a little bit and said, ‘Sure, go ahead.”‘
Even though he was high on marijuana, Lorenzen said something was happening as he sat there and listened to this man share about Jesus.
“As this guy was sharing, it was unbelievably convicting because he broke down that it was more than just to believe in God, which is what I did. You have to serve and live for God; even the demons believe in God. That was something that hit me harder than anything.”
Even though he continued to do stupid things, that day changed Lorenzen’s life and heart forever.
“This guy gave me the Gospel message. It hit me. I had to think about everything he said. I think I was the only one who left that place and was really impacted. God had chosen me to be spoken to and I’m forever grateful for that reason that he chose me to speak into my life and change my life. Ever since that day, the seed was planted and I started going to church with my brother and finally the message made sense to me. It was life. It was truth. I ended up going up and giving my life to the Lord,” he said.
Now Lorenzen lives for a greater purpose.
“I want to do exactly what this man did on the pier for me — I want to use baseball to do that for thousands and thousands of people,” Lorenzen said. “Ever since then, that was really the turning point of my life.”
“But those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.” — Isaiah 40:31
The Reds open up a four-game series at home against the Milwaukee Brewers at 7:05 p.m. ET Thursday.