Lynn builds up as Sox stay put in standings

September 19th, 2021

ARLINGTON -- The total of the White Sox offense during a 2-1 loss to the Rangers Saturday night at Globe Life Field can be summed up in one sentence.

A homer to tie the game in the sixth, a single from to lead off the game and another single from with one out in the seventh. Not exactly the output expected from the American League Central leaders against one of the AL’s worst teams.

But that hit total didn’t tell the entire story. came within about five feet of dropping the White Sox magic number to win the division to 4, but his seventh-inning blast was hauled in on a nice running catch by Adolis García just steps from the right-center-field wall to end the frame. That blast had an exit velocity of 101.1 mph and carried 393 feet, per Statcast.

With two outs and two on in the eighth, hit a 100 mph line drive with an expected batting average of .830, per Statcast, snared by second baseman Nick Solak. Ultimately, it just wasn’t the White Sox night.

“I thought Yo Yo, I thought it was a homer,” said bench coach Miguel Cairo, who filled in for manager Tony La Russa while he served an automatic one-game suspension handed down after it was deemed Michael Wright intentionally hit Shohei Ohtani with a pitch on Thursday. “I was kind of excited, but it goes like that sometimes.

“We hit balls and they catch it, and tomorrow’s another day. We didn’t get lucky. We played hard. They just pitched a little better and they get the hit in the right moment and we didn’t capitalize a few times with men on base.”

took the loss in his return to the locale where he pitched so effectively the last two years, after being traded to the White Sox in a deal involving Dane Dunning during this past offseason. Lynn yielded two runs, one of which was earned, over 5 1/3 innings and 83 pitches. He struck out five and recorded 11 swings and misses, per Statcast, as he focused on his sinker down the stretch.

This second start for Lynn since returning from the injured list, a trip caused by right knee inflammation, was another step in the right direction with the playoffs approaching. It’s a buildup for the big right-hander, but not one akin to the buildup in Spring Training.

“I’d say more advanced because you don’t have to do the two-, three-inning buildup,” Lynn said. “When you’re coming right back in and getting 70 pitches and then, I think, 80-plus tonight, it’s more advanced than that.

“There’s still some refining some pitches and getting the feel back. So, that’s where we’re at right now, and we’re in a good spot heading into the next one. And hopefully we clinch here soon, and we’ll be ready to rock for the playoffs.”

Lynn (10-5) enjoyed the return to Globe Life, despite the setback.

“Whenever you come back to a place you’ve played, it’s always fun,” Lynn said. “It was actually the first time I’ve played in this ballpark with fans in it, so it was fun to actually play in this ballpark seeing fans in the stands instead of cardboard cutouts.”

“He pitched really good today,” said Cairo of Lynn. “A few ground balls that went through holes. That happens. But he pitched really well. He was in command of his fastball. He was making good pitches. They just scored one more run than us.”

Texas (55-93) scored the go-ahead run on a DJ Peters pinch-hit single off in the sixth. But the combination of Robert in center and Grandal behind the plate stopped the rally short when Robert made a perfect one-hop throw and Grandal made an even better grab and tag to nail Andy Ibáñez, who was trying to score from second.

With Cleveland winning at Yankee Stadium earlier in the day, the White Sox (84-64) stay put in their quest for their first division title since 2008. They didn’t lose any ground to Houston (87-61) in the chase for home-field advantage in the projected first-round matchup, although the Astros have the tiebreaker along with the three-game lead.

“Everyone knows there’s a lot at stake here, we’ve got to play good baseball down the stretch,” Lynn said. “We’re in a good, comfortable lead, but it would be nice to clinch here soon so we can kind of line things up the way we need to at the end. We still have some time to be able to do all that and I like where we’re at.”