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Lynn's strong season ends on tough note

@Sullivan_Ranger
September 25, 2020

Lance Lynn's terrific 2020 season came to a tough end against the Astros on Thursday night while the Rangers right-hander was striving to reach 100-plus pitches for the 37th straight start. Lynn allowed a career-high 10 runs (nine earned) over 5 2/3 innings in a 12-4 loss to the Astros

Lance Lynn's terrific 2020 season came to a tough end against the Astros on Thursday night while the Rangers right-hander was striving to reach 100-plus pitches for the 37th straight start.

Lynn allowed a career-high 10 runs (nine earned) over 5 2/3 innings in a 12-4 loss to the Astros at Globe Life Field. Lynn allowed a career-high-tying 12 hits, including three homers that accounted for eight runs.

Box score

“It’s a weird year,” Lynn said. “It’s a bad way to end, not giving your team a chance to win, having the worst start of your career, and that’s the way you end the best year of your career. That’s weird.”

Lynn ended with 104 pitches, as his streak of throwing 100-plus pitches (which dates back to May 12, 2019) is the longest such streak for a Texas pitcher since pitch counts became official in 1988. But his other statistics took a bad turn in his final start of the 60-game season.

Lynn finishes with a 6-3 record, a 3.32 ERA and a 1.06 WHIP over 13 starts. He had a 2.53 ERA and a 0.96 WHIP entering Thursday’s game. That 2.53 ERA would have been the fourth lowest for a qualifying pitcher in Rangers history, and no pitcher in franchise history has finished with a sub-1.00 WHIP.

Lynn was the 26th pitcher in Rangers history to allow 10 or more runs in a game. The club record is 13, given up by Colby Lewis on July 10, 2014, against the Angels. Lynn’s previous career high was eight, which happened twice.

“Yeah, it’s frustrating,” manager Chris Woodward said. “He has not only been our best player, our best pitcher, but one of the best pitchers in baseball. It kind of leaves a sour taste with the way he finished up. It doesn’t change the way obviously he pitched for us all year. Outside of a bad start, he’s a Cy Young candidate.”

The Rangers are now 19-38 this season, leaving them one game better than the Pirates in determining who will have the worst record in the Major Leagues.

The Astros scored two runs in the first on a one-out Jose Altuve single, a two-out triple by Alex Bregman and a dropped fly ball by center fielder Leody Taveras. Houston's final 10 runs all came on homers.

George Springer hit a three-run home run in the second to give the Astros a 5-0 lead. Lynn didn't allow any runs in the third and fourth, but he then gave up a two-run homer to Bregman in the fifth. Lynn was at 85 pitches when he went back out for the sixth.

“It was my last start of the year, so I just wanted to keep going,” Lynn said. “We are already eliminated, so why quit? I am never going to quit.”

Josh Reddick led off the sixth with a single, then Dustin Garneau flied out. Springer walked, and Altuve hit a first-pitch cutter for a three-run homer to left-center on Lynn’s 97th pitch of the night. Lynn stayed for two more batters, getting pulled after a two-out double by Bregman.

“I think it was him wanting to go back out for the sixth,” Woodward said. “Obviously, once he got close [to 100 pitches] maybe made a difference. Once he had a couple runners on, I wanted to leave it up to him to get out of that. I know Lance doesn’t like somebody else giving up his runs. I think I owe him that at that point. I didn’t want to see him give up more runs. He has had a heck of a year for us.”

Apostel leaves game
Rangers third baseman Sherten Apostel left the game in the top of the second after injuring his back while diving for a Carlos Correa grounder. Apostel received an initial diagnosis of back spasms, and there is a good chance he won’t play the rest of the weekend.

“We're gonna know more tomorrow probably,” Woodward said. “Right now, we're still kind of testing it out. We labeled it as back spasms. We're not quite sure exactly what the extent of the injury is, but obviously, it didn't look good when he was walking off the field."

T.R. Sullivan has covered the Rangers since 1989, and for MLB.com since 2006. Follow him on Twitter @Sullivan_Ranger and listen to his podcast.