PITTSBURGH -- Reds right fielder Scott Schebler was in the top spot of the lineup for the eighth straight game on Saturday vs. the Pirates. Schebler is getting used to the new normal of batting first. after hitting sixth much of this season.Schebler was slashing .343/.378/.486 in the previous seven
PITTSBURGH -- Reds right fielder Scott Schebler was in the top spot of the lineup for the eighth straight game on Saturday vs. the Pirates. Schebler is getting used to the new normal of batting first. after hitting sixth much of this season.
Schebler was slashing .343/.378/.486 in the previous seven games, and his overall numbers were .282/.349/.463 with eight home runs and 25 RBIs in 53 games. He's on pace to have his best on-base percentage of his career, but hasn't changed his approach much.
"It just simplifies the game for me a little bit," Schebler said about batting leadoff. "I'm just wanting to get on base for the big guys behind me. It's a little different. I feel like I should be taking more pitches, but I've tried to do that before, where I change my approach and it hasn't worked out very well. I'm a very aggressive hitter. That's how I am and it's what has made me successful. I don't see myself changing."
But Schebler knew he shouldn't have been as aggressive as he was during Friday's 3-2 loss, when he went 1-for-5 with four strikeouts. Of the 20 pitches he saw, he swung at 14 of them.
"Last night, I had some pretty bad at-bats. You don't want to dwell on it and today is a new day. I definitely can do better," Schebler said. "I got a little antsy at the plate. Sometimes after off-days, I can be that way more than I normally am. I was not selective [Friday] at all. I was swinging at pretty much everything. I've gone through that in the past and I will get out of it."
Lorenzen ready for anything
After he pitched three innings of relief on Friday for the Reds, Michael Lorenzen was ready for more on Saturday. Lorenzen walked into Jim Riggleman's office and let the interim manager know.
"I told Riggleman I feel better today than I did yesterday, and I'm ready to go today," Lorenzen said. "He's not going to use me, but I'm happy I could go in there and tell him that."
Lorenzen inherited a bases-loaded, no-outs situation from starter Matt Harvey and lefty reliever Wandy Peralta in the sixth inning and gave up a pair of sacrifice flies. He was able to finish the game without any more runs crossing.
In his last six appearances, Lorenzen pitched multiple innings five times, including a four-inning save vs. the Padres on June 1. Riggleman is pleasantly surprised by the durability the right-hander has shown since he was activated from the disabled list on May 22, following a right shoulder strain sustained during Spring Training.
"Knock on wood, he's really feeling good," Riggleman said. "He wants to go more than that. He's throwing the ball good for us. Hopefully we can keep him healthy. He minimized the damage last night and then went on and threw a couple of more innings. He gave us every chance."
Lorenzen said he did not rehab his shoulder differently to handle the extended workloads.
"I just understood how [Riggleman] wanted to use the bullpen," he said. "We were going to be used a lot after seeing how the [starters] were throwing. I just stepped off the gas a lot, to where I'm not out there airing it out every pitch. I truly feel like I'm just playing catch with the catcher. And I'm getting outs that way and it's building my confidence."
According to Statcast™, Lorenzen has shown slightly lowered velocity on his primary pitch: the two-seam fastball. In 2017, it averaged 96.3 mph, and it's been averaging 95.1 mph so far this season.
Lorenzen, who has a 1.59 ERA in nine games overall, sets no limits to how much he can pitch.
"I just like being used, to be honest," Lorenzen said. "Whatever it is, however many innings they want, if they want me to pitch every day, multiple innings, one inning, I just want to be used as much as I possibly can. That's what it comes down to.
"Every time they ask me if I want to go back out, I'm going to say, 'Yeah.'"
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.