The White Sox have a below-.500 record when they hit four homers in a game, so it only makes sense that they’d lose the game in which Lance Lynn tied the franchise’s single-game strikeout record, and by a comfortable margin.
Lynn indeed tied Jack Harshman with 16 strikeouts over seven-plus innings and 114 pitches, but he made the unpardonable sin of a poor two-batter sequence in the third inning, and that’s all it took to send the White Sox to a series loss in the rubber match in Seattle.
Lynn had some of the best stuff of any pitcher all season. He generated 33 swings and misses on just 61 swings, and he had all of his six pitches working for him. His cutter took the lead, and he was able to add and subtract from it based on whether he needed a competitive strike or a chase pitch out of the zone, but he also used his changeup early to throw lefties off his scent, and that gave him enough to provide a multitude of looks multiple times through the lineup.
His only stumble came in the third, when he walked J.P. Crawford on four wide pitches to bring Julio Rodríguez to the plate with two on, and Rodríguez doubled them both home on a fastball that split the plate.
Two-out runs on grooved fastballs have been Lynn’s specialty, but had Lynn not entered the game with a 6.75 ERA, it would’ve the kind of ordinary slip that every pitcher makes over the course of a start. And if the White Sox had an offense that could make a habit of scoring multiple runs, we wouldn’t even be talking about it.
Alas, the White Sox only had one productive two-batter sequence, and it only accounted for one run in the sixth, when Elvis Andrus doubled off Bryce Miller, and Andrew Benintendi singled him home. Otherwise, the White Sox were held to four other hits, and two of them came in the ninth inning, when the Sox trailed by four.
And how they trailed by four is another point of contention. Pedro Grifol sent Lynn out for the eighth with 113 pitches to his name, which is a move I endorse. He struck out two in the seventh to tie the White Sox single-game K record, so sure, give him one more shot to see if he could beat a 70-year-old record. Kolten Wong upset that idea with a first-pitch bunt, and that was that.
But Grifol went to Reynaldo López, and after recording two outs, López unraveled. He got ahead of Ty France 0-2, then threw four straight out of the zone. Then he walked Teoscar Hernández on five pitches to load the bases for Jarred Kelenic. After missing with the first pitch, López came at Kelenic with a 97-mph fastball at the knees, and Kelenic split the left-center gap to clear the bases.
That put an extra run on Lynn’s tab, and that effectively sealed the White Sox’s third consecutive series loss.
*Zach Remillard went 0-for-4 in his second game and first start, including a bunt single attempt that didn’t work. Baseball typically wastes little time providing reality checks. At least he will always have June 17.
*Luis Robert Jr. came within an inch or so of his 18th homer of the year in the ninth inning. Replay showed it hit the top of the fence in right-center and catapulted back into play.
*The White Sox failed to draw a walk in two of the three games, and they lost both.