Lorenzen enjoying game of adjustments

Reds right-hander learning art of keeping hitters off balance

Lorenzen enjoying game of adjustments

CINCINNATI -- During his scoreless eighth inning of the Reds' 5-1 win over the Indians on Monday, right-handed power reliever Michael Lorenzen faced five batters -- all left-handed. The first four were able to put his cutter into play -- including two for singles by Bradley Zimmer and Michael Brantley.

"We'll make changes in how we attack lefties," Lorenzen said on Tuesday. "You're seeing their swings and what they're doing and taking a 'I will see a cutter' approach."

Lorenzen, who has a 0.73 ERA with one earned run allowed over his last 10 appearances and 12 1/3 innings, hasn't been afraid to adjust throughout the season. The former starter has six pitches in his bag of tricks, but he primarily relies on four -- his four-seam fastball, sinker, cutter and slider.

Lorenzen gets flyout, earns win

This season, according to Statcast™, opposing hitters are batting .077 against the four-seamer that he's thrown 74 times. The 93 sinkers he's thrown has them batting .222, while recording a .105 average with the slider. The cutter, however, has hitters batting .342, and he's thrown it the most, 134 times.

"Hitters are making the adjustments. Before they used to hit my sinker really well and they didn't hit my cutter," Lorenzen said. "Now they are on my cutter and not hitting my sinker. It's that game that's going on. But I'm learning a lot right now. Every single day, I feel like I am improving and learning something new. That's awesome. I know my stuff will continue to get better because I'm learning so much about how to be consistent with it and raise the bar."

Overall, Lorenzen entered Tuesday with a 3.33 ERA in 19 appearances, with 20 hits, eight walks and 21 strikeouts over 24 1/3 innings. His four-seam fastball has averaged 97 mph this season.

"He's learned to manipulate the ball so he can keep it straight. He can cut it. He can sink it. He can add and subtract velocity to it," Reds manager Bryan Price said. "The predictability factor can disappear when you have pitchers that will utilize more than one pitch or two pitches on one or two sides of the plate. ...

"Sometimes you say, 'OK, this pitch is thrown on this side of the plate, and then another pitch is thrown exclusively on the other side of the plate.' And when you can blend and you can say, 'I can use all my pitches to both sides of the plate,' now you've got somebody who can really keep a hitter off balance and keep them from guessing correctly."

Worth noting

• Lefty reliever Tony Cingrani (right oblique strain) threw a bullpen session Tuesday. Cingrani is likely to get one more session in Dayton before possibly going on a rehab assignment.

Mark Sheldon has covered the Reds for MLB.com since 2006, and previously covered the Twins from 2001-05. Follow him on Twitter @m_sheldon and Facebook and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.