'I feel really good': Lynn labors for nine K's

July 3rd, 2021

DETROIT -- won’t be able to throw 117 pitches in every one of his starts, as he did Friday at Comerica Park during an 8-2 White Sox victory over the Tigers to mark the South Siders’ fifth straight victory.

But how does the gregarious right-hander even know he can get to that level when needed? His explanation was very simple and quite hilarious.

“I’m a big bastard, that’s how I know,” said Lynn, who even seemed to amuse himself with the quote. “I’ve been doing it for a long time.”

Lynn’s biggest pitch of the night probably was his last one in the sixth. With Jeimer Candelario on second, two outs and Lynn protecting a one-run lead, the White Sox intentionally walked Willi Castro to get to right-handed-hitting catcher Jake Rogers. The at-bat lasted six pitches before Lynn fired a high four-seamer past a swinging Rogers on a 2-2 offering.

Going into that matchup, Lynn knew Rogers would be his last hitter.

“Was going to punch him out trying or walk him trying,” Lynn said. “It was you and I, here we go, I’m going to leave it all out here. Best part was I felt good and I feel really good, which is a good thing moving forward when you throw 115 plus pitches.

“Everybody is going to be like, ‘What do you got,’ but I feel really good. I got one more before the break so make sure I’m good to go for that one and use the break to get ready for the second half.”

In those six innings, Lynn struck out nine, with 16 whiffs, per Statcast, and issued a season-high five walks. He was still in the game to face Rogers because of Andrew Vaughn’s diving catch in left field to take a hit away from Daz Cameron after Candelario walked and moved to second on a wild pitch with nobody out in the inning.

Vaughn added a solo home run in the ninth for his eighth of the year. He started the season with three Cactus League games of experience in left field, forced there by Eloy Jiménez’s injury, but continues to look like a natural.

“I mean, it’s definitely a progression,” Vaughn said. “I’m definitely learning new stuff every single day and trying to be the best I can out there to help the team win and save some runs. That’s the biggest thing.

“You never practice diving. It’s a little dangerous, but you gotta go for it and help the team win any way you can.”

The White Sox continue to win, but the injuries also continue to pile up as Yasmani Grandal left the game in the fifth inning with left calf tightness. Manager Tony La Russa praised his catcher for getting out when he did, adding he will not play Saturday, and his soreness will be re-evaluated at that point.

Zack Collins is the only truly healthy catcher on the roster. So, Seby Zavala will come from Triple-A Charlotte as insurance but could easily join the team.

As for the other Charlotte arrivals, Gavin Sheets launched a three-run homer in the ninth making him the first White Sox player with at least one hit and one RBI in each of his first four games. And then there was Jake Burger, the No. 11 White Sox prospect per MLB Pipeline, who made his Major League debut at third base and hitting eighth.

He grounded into a double play in his first at-bat but picked up his first career hit in the seventh when Cameron lost sight of his fly ball to center and it landed for a double. He added a single to right in the ninth.

“I'm grateful for the opportunity and the nerves, your whole body is numb. It's something I've never experienced before,” Burger said. “As the game went on, you kind of get over them and get back into the groove and playing baseball again. But still taking it in, because it's a special night.

“I was talking to [Adam] Engel and Sheets, and I'm going to say I hit a ball off the top of the wall -- I just missed a home run. In this day and age, my grandkids will probably go back and find the video and say, ‘You're lying grandpa.’ I'm still going to hold that lie and just keep telling them. It was special. It was cool."

The White Sox finished the first half of the 2021 season with a 49-32 record and have scored 43 runs total over their last five games. With a six-game division lead, maybe the White Sox, like Lynn, have what it takes to battle through to the end.