Scuffling White Sox insist 'we're going to be all right'

June 25th, 2022

CHICAGO -- Lance Lynn struck out eight and walked one over 6 2/3 innings Saturday afternoon against the Orioles, recording 23 swings and misses among his 109 pitches, per Statcast.

But the veteran right-hander didn’t care about those numbers in his third start of the season. All he saw was Baltimore’s 6-2 victory, extending the White Sox losing streak to four. Lynn was charged with all four runs scored in the Orioles’ seventh, which also left him focusing on the team over the individual.

“It felt like a loss. That’s the only way to look at it,” Lynn said. “We’ve got to be better, I’ve got to finish outings. That’s where I’m at right now. Stuff’s there, I’ve just got to finish outings.

“You either win or lose. Simple game.”

Lynn yielded a Jorge Mateo home run in the third and an unearned run in the fifth, trailing by that 2-1 margin entering the seventh. Robinson Chirinos was hit by a pitch with one out, Mateo walked with two outs and Cedric Mullins took a pitch literally in the dirt and placed it down the third base line for an infield single to load the bases.

Manager Tony La Russa left Lynn in the game. He hit Trey Mancini with the first pitch to force in a run, with José Ruiz replacing Lynn and allowing Austin Hays’ bases-clearing double to complete the rally. La Russa would have gone with Joe Kelly in the eighth if the White Sox had escaped the seventh, and while he was watching each hitter with the big right-hander’s pitch count rising, La Russa felt Lynn was the man to try to finish the inning.

“That’s his inning and first pitch gets away and hits him. That was it,” La Russa said. “He was outstanding. The problem is whenever we’ve pitched well, they’ve pitched better. Whenever we hit, they’ve hit better. You get outplayed, you lose games.”

“For him, it was just how well he pitched today,” White Sox catcher Reese McGuire said. “That inning, to unravel like that, was a bummer. Just seeing him take the ball and go that deep into a game is what we’re going to need down the stretch. It’s good for him to get this.”

Rookie Lenyn Sosa made his first career start, coming at second base, and scored his first career run. But the White Sox (33-37) scored just two overall, including one in the ninth set up by Gavin Sheets and Jake Burger getting hit by Dillon Tate pitches to start the final frame.

The White Sox have scored three runs overall in three straight defeats to the Orioles (34-39), reaching their longest home losing streak since losing four straight from Aug. 8-15 in 2020, and falling to 15-21 overall at home. Key players are missing from the White Sox lineup due to injury, and La Russa mentioned pregame how Tim Anderson, José Abreu, Andrew Vaughn, AJ Pollock and Luis Robert are all under trainer instructions to slow it down if they make a routine out due to various areas of pain.

It’s not anywhere close to an ideal scenario for a team trying to put a solid streak together toward contention in the American League Central.

“We’re just keeping it day by day,” McGuire said. “But you put a handful of good games together and then, all of a sudden, you lose a couple in a row, so it’s always a bummer because you feel like you’re so close to getting on a roll. It goes to show you can’t take any team for granted. You got to come ready to play every day.”

“You know that you’re going to go through stretches where you’re playing well and you’re going to go through stretches where you’re not playing well,” Lynn said. “As professionals you’ve got to show up and be ready to play the next day and we’re doing that. Sometimes it doesn’t equate to a win on the field, but we’re giving everything we’ve got and as long as we keep doing that, we’re going to be all right.”