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Bats quiet as Lynn gives Texas steady start

DeShields backs starter with clutch catch, bounces back from collision
@baseballexis
August 13, 2019

TORONTO -- Lance Lynn has been a constant for the Rangers during an inconsistent time. While the offense has struggled to get anything going on Texas’s current 10-day, nine-game road trip, the 32-year-old right-hander has continuously put his team in a position to win over that span and longer. In

TORONTO -- Lance Lynn has been a constant for the Rangers during an inconsistent time.

While the offense has struggled to get anything going on Texas’s current 10-day, nine-game road trip, the 32-year-old right-hander has continuously put his team in a position to win over that span and longer. In Tuesday’s 3-0 loss to the Blue Jays at Rogers Centre, Lynn did just that for five innings, allowing one run on four hits with three walks and six strikeouts.

Box score

“He’s been doing a great job for us all year,” outfielder Delino DeShields said. “He goes out and attacks hitters. I know he gets upset when he walks guys and he’s not pounding the zone … but he’s a competitor. He wants to be out there. He’s a bulldog.”

The 6-foot-5, 280-pound hurler worked around runners in scoring position in three of his five frames, battling high-stress innings with some help from his defense. What began as an unbelievable, highlight-reel, run-saving catch from DeShields appeared to come to an ugly end, though it saved Lynn in the fourth.

“It was huge,” manager Chris Woodward said. “In the situation, that would have cleared the bases. If he doesn’t catch it, [that’s] definitely three runs right there, and puts the game a little bit more out of reach. In the moment, it was a huge play.”

With two outs and the bases loaded for the home team, Blue Jays catcher Reese McGuire launched a line drive to the deepest part of the outfield. The ball came off his bat at 97.4 mph and traveled 394 feet, according to Statcast.

DeShields made an incredible catch going back to the wall, but landed awkwardly, crashing head-first and backward into the padding on the fence. The 26-year-old outfielder stayed on the ground for some time, before his teammates and the Rangers’ training staff came out to meet him. After walking unassisted back to the dugout, DeShields returned to the field the next inning and remained in the game.

“It was a hell of a catch,” Lynn said. “He bailed me out there. I’m glad he was all right. You really worry that something bad could happen.”

“It hurt,” DeShields said. “But I’ve got a football mentality. I got up, and I don’t like getting taken out of the game for anything. They wanted to make sure I was good, but I told them I was straight and I stayed in the game.”

Ahead of Tuesday’s matchup, Lynn was tied for fourth among American League hurlers with 17 quality starts, tied for fifth with 155 innings pitched, ranked seventh with 4.68 strikeouts per walk, eighth with 178 strikeouts and ninth with 10.3 strikeouts per nine innings. He lowered his ERA to 3.54.

It wasn’t enough for a lineup that went 0-for-10 with runners in scoring position on Tuesday, after going 2-for-28 in the same situation over the first seven games of the road trip. Rangers hitters also struck out 10 times in the matchup, bringing their total over their past 11 games to 104.

“This is a tough spot for our offense,” Woodward said. “Our offense has pretty much carried our ballclub all year, and now the spotlight’s on them. That’s something they haven’t really had to endure. I know we’ve been struggling a bit as of late, but right now, it just seems the spotlight’s a little brighter.”

Added DeShields: “It’s frustrating. We don’t play this game to lose. We come here and work our butts off every day. That’s just baseball. You’re going to have ups and downs throughout the course of the season. The good teams limit those streaks where they struggle and they find different ways to win. We’ve just been unlucky.”

Alexis Brudnicki is a reporter/editor for MLB.com based in Toronto. Follow her on Twitter @baseballexis.