Michael Lorenzen spent over two months on the 15-day IL after suffering a right shoulder strain against the Houston Astros on July 1. After all that time, facing the same Astros, the Los Angeles Angels starter made his return to the mound on Friday night.
As is usually the case when a player returns from a long injury stint, he was imperfect. Lorenzen struggled with pitch command and finding the strike zone, walking four Astros batters in 5.2 innings. He also allowed three hits, but only gave up one earned run via a home run by Jeremy Peña.
Overall, it was a solid performance for a player looking to rehabilitate his value as he prepares to enter free agency. And Angels interim manager Phil Nevin certainly was happy with what he saw, according to Kristie Rieken of AP Sports:
“I thought his stuff was good,” Nevin said. “He made some really good pitches tonight against a really good lineup and that was good to see.”
By returning with 25 games left in the Angels season, Lorenzen should get the opportunity to start 3-4 more times before 2022 comes to an end. That should be plenty to prove to prospective teams — including the Angels — that he is healthy and ready to play a full year.
Lorenzen was hit with a no decision for his efforts against the Astros, despite the Angels leading 2-1 when he was removed. Andrew Wantz allowed a two-run home run to Chas McCormick in the seventh inning to give the Astros a 3-2 lead.
From there, McCormick would tack on an insurance run with an RBI walk from Jose Marte in the eighth. Taylor Ward homered in the ninth to make it 4-3, which wound up being the final score.
Mike Trout ties franchise record
Perhaps the biggest moment from Friday night’s matchup was the first run scored. With a 0-0 deadlock in the sixth inning, Mike Trout belted a two-run home run to give the Angels the lead. Almost more importantly, though, it was Trout’s fifth consecutive game with a homer.
This set a new career-best for Trout and tied the Angels franchise record, previously set by Bobby Bonds in 1977.