Early in the game, Lynn was stung by the long ball. In the first inning, José Ramírez hit a two-run homer. Two innings later, Andrés Giménez gave Cleveland some insurance with a solo home run, padding its lead to 3-0.
Lynn settled down and retired the next nine batters in a row. But before the fifth inning started, White Sox manager Tony La Russa and the training staff paid Lynn a visit to the mound, as he appeared to be in clear discomfort. It turns out, Lynn had tweaked his back.
“I just felt weird for a second [but] after I threw a couple of warmup pitches, I was ready to go,” he said.
Lynn ended up retiring the side that frame but ran into trouble in the sixth, allowing three more runs on four hits -- none were hit hard.
La Russa thought Lynn had a better outing than the box score indicates. Two of those hits in the sixth should have been scored as errors, La Russa said. Second baseman César Hernández and shortstop Tim Anderson were unable to cleanly field the grounders hit by Myles Straw and Amed Rosario, respectively. But they were both credited with infield singles.
“[After the home run to Giménez], Lynn made a lot of good pitches, a lot of movement all over the strike zone,” La Russa said. “He got all those ground balls [in the sixth inning], but when you fumble the ball, it’s an error. But it went against the pitcher. There were two of them. That was not one of our better games.”
Lynn will likely be the Game 1 starter in the American League Division Series, which starts Oct. 7. He feels he is progressing well after coming off the injured list with right knee inflammation. He is slated to make one more start before the postseason.
“We [were able to throw] all my pitches,” Lynn said. “I was able to use everything I wanted. We are still fine-tuning some things on certain sides of the plate. [I gave up the two home runs] with the two pitches I was mad about all night. It got too much part of the plate. But other than that, everything is right where it needs to be.”
Lynn’s counterpart, Cleveland right-hander Eli Morgan, had his way against Chicago, allowing just one hit across six innings and striking out six batters. Most of those strikeouts came on his unhittable changeup.
“The changeup has a lot of movement. It’s very deceptive,” La Russa said.
Morgan said he had his fastball command working, and that’s why he was able to throw his changeup for strikes.
"We tried to go in a good bit to the righties,” Morgan said. "But early in the game, we just established the fastball down and outside. If I can establish the fastball down, that just makes my changeup play a little better, because it opens up the bottom of the zone. The last couple of starts, the fastball command has been a big key."
La Russa wants to see better at-bats from his club in the future.
“We have to hit the ball in the strike zone, don’t chase. We can't be striking out like we have been striking out,” La Russa said. “Today, we were on the back of our heels like the other team beat us to the punch -- offensively and defensively. That’s not how we play.”