Facing this Los Angeles Dodgers lineup is a tough test for any starting pitcher. For a struggling Lance Lynn, this group of hitters is not what the doctor would order to help him get back on track. To help prepare for tonight, Lynn focused on fastball command within the strike zone.
To start, Lynn commanded his various fastballs to punch out Mookie Betts on a high 92.6 mph heater. It was a good sign. However, Lynn hung a cutter to Freddie Freeman, who hit a deep fly that went foul, but would walk on a full count. Five pitches later on his bobblehead night, Will Smith got jiggy with Lynn’s inside sinker hitting his 10th home run of the season. Quickly, the Dodgers took a 2-0 lead.
It didn’t get better for Lynn. Jason Heyward’s worm burner cut through the infield shift for a single, and David Peralta brought him home, hitting another two-run jack. On 32 pitches, Lynn gave up four earned runs on three hits while striking two and walking one.
After that disastrous first inning, just like many of Lynn’s starts in 2023, he calmed down and found his rhythm. The cutter had enough horizontal break to generate whiffs against righties, and even at 93 mph, Dodgers hitters had a tough time against elevated fastballs. Lynn kept the Dodgers scoreless from the second to fifth innings. During those four innings, Lynn’s line looked like 4.0 IP 2 H 0 R 0 BB 4 K.
But for some unknown reason, manager Pedro Grifol demands Lynn throw 95+ pitches in every outing. Starting the sixth inning, Lynn allowed another single to Heyward and walked JD Martinez. After 105 pitches, Grifol decided that was enough and swapped Lynn for Garrett Crochet.
With Lynn responsible for runners on first and second base, it became a bases-loaded situation when Yoan Moncada didn’t get into a good fielding position and watched a grounder bounce off his glove. That fielding error is the third for Moncada in 2023, which turned up the heat on Crochet. Miguel Vargas was able to put a charge into a deep fly, but Luis Robert Jr. ran it down. That resulted in a sacrifice fly. Crochet would strike out James Outman and get Chris Taylor to pop out, ending the threat.
Lynn’s final line ends at 5.0 IP 6 H 5 R 4 ER 2 BB 6 K on 105 pitches with 67 for strikes. Pitch breakdown:
- 44 4-Seamers: 33% whiff rate
- 25 Cutters: 33% whiff rate
- 15 Sinkers: 13% whiff rate
- 14 Curveballs: 14% whiff rate
- 7 Changeups: 0% whiff rate
Amazingly, Dodgers hitters swung at 59 pitches against Lynn. That’s a bit wild for a team with such good plate discipline, and it limited Lynn’s called strikes to just eight pitches. The foul ball amount tripled called strikes with 28 against Lynn versus 15 pitches put into play.
If you want to be optimistic about Lynn, you’ll point at the four innings where he only allowed two baserunners to say there’s still life. If you are done watching Lynn, you’ll play the first inning on repeat. It was clear that Lynn wasn’t happy with his outing as he started to slam his glove and a nearby tablet into the bench.
Meanwhile, the White Sox offense was lifeless against Dodgers starter Tony Gonsolin. Only Andrew Vaughn and Yoan Moncada recorded base hits against Gonsolin. Moncada’s “hit” was thanks to some weird infield defense when Vargas threw to Gonsolin, who wasn’t on first base, but Freeman was in position.
At least Tim Anderson and Robert drew walks against Gonsolin, but the Dodgers starter went 6.0 IP 2 H 0 R 2 BB 6 K on 90 pitches.
White Sox didn’t score their only run of the game until the ninth inning off reliever Tayler Scott. Vaughn hit a deep fly to right field that Betts couldn’t run down as it bounced into the seats for a ground-rule double. Even with that good result, it should have ended in a TOOTBLAN for Vaughn as Moncada hit a comebacker right at Scott. Scott hesitated to throw to third base when Vaughn was halfway to the bag.
That delay allowed Vaughn to slide safely to third base putting runners on the corners with no outs. Unfortunately, Jake Burger struck out, and that was enough for Dodgers manager Dave Roberts to call for Brusdar Graterol. Yasmani Grandal got enough to push a fly ball to center field, allowing Vaughn to score.
- Andrew Vaughn went 2-for-4 with a run scored
- White Sox struck out 10 times
- Tim Anderson went 0-for-3 with a BB. His OBP is now .299. He’ll probably bat leadoff tomorrow night.
- White Sox are 12-22 on the road.