What Lance Lynn did on Thursday was exactly what the White Sox needed.
It’s what they needed right now, and it’s what they needed to pursue a championship this season, which is why they acquired the great right-handed in the first place.
The White Sox weren’t worried about their 3-4 campaign start, a west coast road trip with disjointed play to say the least. There were many defensive mistakes. There were four losses to what should be one of the best bullpens in baseball. There were many short outings by starting pitchers.
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None of those issues even threatened to bubble up in Thursday’s home opener. Lynn took care of it. He was dominant, taking out the Kansas City Royals and knocking out the Kansas City Royals in a 6-0 win for the South Siders, a great debut for the home fans, who piled on the Guaranteed Rate Field for the first time since 2019.
“The first ball on,” said Tony La Russa, manager of White Sox, “he was just nails.”
A lot has changed since those fans last saw this team in person. While they were gone in 2020, the White Sox rose out of rebuild mode and into battle mode. They made it to the playoffs and boasted frustratingly early on.
That’s why Lynn is here. The White Sox are legit contenders and need elite pitching to achieve their sky-high championship-level goals. Lynn was one of the best arms of the game for the past two seasons, pitching for the Texas Rangers. With a year to go, the White Sox made the kind of win-now move World Series winners make. Lynn is a World Series winner herself and did so in 2011 in a St. Louis Cardinals team led by his current manager.
While many other pitchers are slowly dipping their toes into the waters of the 2021 season, no one knows exactly how this season will play out for the poor coming out of a 60-game season in 2020, Lynn went out and hit the first full game shutout the majors this season. It’s no shock if you pay attention to what he said over the winter, when he predicted fights if his manager wanted to get him out of trouble.
There was no fight on Thursday, not when Lynn was mowing the Royals.
There wasn’t much conversation, ”Lynn said. (La Russa) looked at me and said, “Are you okay?” And I said, ‘I’m going to finish it. Does that sound good? ‘And he said,’ Yes. ‘
The way the White Sox exited the late season last fall made Lynn an essential addition. Without a third reliable start-pitching option to go to, the White Sox paraded reliever after reliever to the mound in an elimination game. Those arms were sensational during the season. But they weren’t that day.
Lynn showed on Thursday how reliable he can be. He pitched a best career in 208.1 innings in 2019. He led the game with 84 more last season. He added nine to his 2021 count on Thursday, and while there are likely to be teams in October more likely to win the World Series than the Royals, he gave a glimpse into the future, a future where the White Sox couldn’t get the ball more comfortably. hand over. the man behind Lucas Giolito and Dallas Keuchel.
“I had the break and the chance to see him early,” said La Russa. “He always had talent and (was) a pitch-maker and he had life in his arm, but he was really competitive. And now where he is, he has experience.
“The ball does different things. He has three different fastballs, a nice breaking ball. He’s really just become an experienced pitcher who understands it, keeps adding and adding so that the batters have to see different things. It’s really impressive.”
The small sample size of the early start always produces exaggerated responses, but rest assured that nothing from the White Sox on that opening tour radically changed World Series expectations. That said, Lynn’s performance on Thursday should be enough to calm anyone fearful of losing in four of the first seven games.
Prior to Lynn heaving on Thursday, Giolito owned the longest appearance by a White Sox-starter this season, with only 16 outs each time he took the mound in Anaheim and Seattle. Lynn beat him by eleven on Thursday. And he’s ready for this to be the start of the starting rotation, putting this team on its back and playing championship caliber.
The first one and a half times through the rotation, we didn’t do what we were supposed to do and what we were capable of, ”Lynn said. So we talked about it.
It’s in their court. I started it. ‘
It’s hard to call the first week of the season a slip. But Lynn seemed to be playing a bit stop on Thursday. It was exactly what these White Sox needed.
And they will need it from now until the end of what they hope is a deep October round.
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