Michael Lorenzen has watched all seven of Nolan Ryan’s no-hitters, hoping one day he’d throw just one. That dream came true Wednesday when Lorenzen, in just his second start with the Philadelphia Phillies, held the Washington Nationals hitless to deliver the 14th no-hitter in franchise history.
It wasn’t the most dominant performance, as Lorenzen needed a career-high 124 pitches and walked four batters while striking out five. But he got some help from stellar defensive play, to which he credited following the game. Lorenzen also took time to praise God after what was not only his first career no-hitter but also his first-ever complete game.
“I didn’t strike out the world in this game,” Lorenzen told NBC Sports Philadelphia following the game. “When you’re pitching, balls can land in different places. I just had God’s grace today. I definitely have to thank Him for today and give Him all the glory, just to be able to keep me calm and trusting in Him. Whatever happened, I was just going to trust in Him and that’s kind of what I’ve been doing all season — trying to just lean on Him.”
HE DID IT!
Michael Lorenzen has thrown the 14th no-hitter in Phillies history! pic.twitter.com/MXnZy6WY48
— Philadelphia Phillies (@Phillies) August 10, 2023
It was his second start since being traded from the Detroit Tigers to the Phillies at the MLB trade deadline. He went eight innings against the Miami Marlins in his first start and struck out five batters with two earned runs and just one walk.
Lorenzen now carries a 7-7 record with a 3.23 ERA. After earning his first All-Star appearance this season, he was one of the most highly sought-after pitchers at the deadline, and will be relied upon to help propel the Phillies (63-52) back to the playoffs. They currently lead the National League’s wild-card race.
Lorenzen has come a long way in his nine-year MLB career. After joining the big leagues with Cincinnati and starting 21 games in 2015, he was primarily used as a reliever for the next six years. But he returned a starter’s role, as he’d always wanted to, with the Los Angeles Angels in 2022, and has remained a starter this year.
He’s also come a long way in his walk with God. He’s a believer now, but it wasn’t always that way. He told Renewed Strength Fitness in 2016 how he came to faith in God after growing up in a broken home as both of his parents struggled 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 onto 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 at him and laughed a little bit and said, ‘Sure, go ahead.'”
Even though he was high on marijuana, Lorenzen said something started to stir in him as he listened to this man talk 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,” Lorenzen said. “You have to serve and live for God; even the demons believe in God. That was something that hit me harder than anything.”
He didn’t cut out the drugs immediately, but a seed was planted in his heart. Over time, his heart began to change.
“This guy gave me the Gospel message. It hit me,” he said. “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.”
Now Lorenzen lives for a greater purpose. His Instagram bio has a reference to Romans 1:16 as it reads that he is “unashamed of the Gospel of Christ.” He also has a “116” tattoo on his left forearm, which is an ode to the 116 brand — based on the verse — created by Christian rappers Lecrae, Andy Mineo and others.
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“I want to do exactly what this man did on the pier for me,” Lorenzen said in the Renewed video. “I want to use baseball to do that for thousands and thousands of people. Ever since then, that was really the turning point of my life.”
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