Angels turn to hometown product for start vs. Marlins

Field Level Media

April 11, 2022 at 11:26 am.

The Los Angeles Angels will host the Miami Marlins on Monday night in Anaheim, Calif., with Michael Lorenzen expected to make his debut for his hometown team.

Lorenzen is an Anaheim native, attended high school in nearby Fullerton and college at Cal State Fullerton. But he was drafted in 2013 by the Reds and played his entire career in Cincinnati before signing a one-year, $7 million contract with the Angels for 2022.

“I’m meant to be here,” Lorenzen said. “This is my home. And when you’re gone for seven years, you really realize ‘I miss my home.’ You go a little extreme and I guess I’ve gone a little extreme, but I love being here.”

Lorenzen made 21 starts for the Reds his rookie season in 2015 but had only five over the next six seasons, pitching primarily out of the bullpen. He was considered for the Reds’ rotation last year, but a shoulder injury caused him to miss the first half of the season, so when he returned he was placed back in the bullpen.

In 26 career starts, Lorenzen is 6-10 with a 4.95 ERA, but the Angels believe Lorenzen is ready for a starting role. He is 1-2 with a 2.94 ERA in 14 career games (three starts) vs. Miami.

Lorenzen, though, will not be in the lineup as a hitter, something he reluctantly has agreed to give up. With the Reds, he hit .233 with seven homers and 24 RBIs in 133 at-bats. In 2018, the same year Shohei Ohtani debuted with the Angels, Lorenzen hit .290 with four homers, 10 RBIs and a 1.043 OPS.

Right-hander Elieser Hernandez, who was 1-3 with a 4.18 ERA in 11 starts last season, will be on the mound for Miami, which wasn’t such a sure thing less than a week ago.

In his final spring appearance last Tuesday, Hernandez was hit on his right forearm by a line drive and had to leave the game in the first inning. Unable to stay in the game long enough to get his pitch count up, Hernandez will be limited to 75 pitches or five innings Monday against Los Angeles.

He has yet to face the Angels.

Behind the plate for Hernandez will be catcher Jacob Stallings, a Gold Glove winner for the Pirates last year, acquired by the Marlins during the offseason in a trade for pitcher Zach Thompson and two minor leaguers.

Stallings made a good first impression, throwing out two baserunners, hitting a home run and driving in three in Miami’s Opening Day loss to the Giants.

“Everything he does behind the plate you like,” Marlins manager Don Mattingly said. “This guy’s going to be ready for games, he’s going to block, he’s going to throw. He’s not going to have that same cannon-type arm, but it’s going to be quick. It’s going to be accurate. He’s going to be good for us. We can already see that. You see instantly in the first game that this guy is going to be a difference maker for us.”