Lance Lynn was arguably the Chicago White Sox best pitcher this season but the Houston Astros were certainly glad to see him start game one of the American League Division Series.
The Astros have had very good success against Lynn over the years and that success continued as they tagged him for five earned runs in three and two-thirds innings in taking the first game in the best of five series by a score of 6-1.
Lynn managed to have a one-two-three first inning but gave up an RBI single to number eight hitter Jake Meyers in the second and could never recover. Alex Bregman, Yordan Alvarez, and Michael Brantley all drove in runs in the third to dig a five to nothing hole the White Sox could not climb out of. Reynaldo Lopez came on in relief and gave up a solo homer to Alvarez in the fifth for the Astro’s final run.
The Astros led the majors with a .267 team batting average and they pounded out 10 total hits in the game, six of which came off Lynn. He finished the game with four strikeouts, two walks, and an earned run average of 12.27.
Lance Lynn of the Chicago White Sox has struggled against the Astros in his career.
His struggles against the Astros should not come as a shock to anyone. For his career, Lynn has had issues facing Houston, going 5-7 with a 4.41 ERA entering the playoffs. In a 7-3 loss back in June, Lynn gave up six runs on eight hits in only four innings.
Those types of stats are what made the choice of Lynn being the game one starter interesting. Lucas Giolito had been pitching well down the stretch and there was a thought he might be the one to open the series.
Giolito went 2-0 in four starts over the final 28 days, giving up only five runs in 20 innings of work. He also struck out 16 batters while walking only five in that span. He also tossed a complete-game win over Houston back in July where he gave up one run on three hits.
Based on that information, one would have thought Giolito would be the guy to help get the White Sox off to a 1-0 start in the best of five series.
Lynn said he knew a week ago he would get the start to open the playoffs. A sign that would be the case came in his taking game one of the three-game series with Detroit to close out the regular season. Giolito was the starter for the second game then and will be again in the playoffs.
What makes the decision to have Lynn start things off is that it would put him in a position to possibly start game an elimination game four. If the White Sox are facing elimination and Carlos Rodon is not available, manager Tony LaRussa will have to decide on going with Lynn on four days rest or Giolito on three.
For the White Sox to even the series, the bats will have to get going. Lance McCullers was on his game and stymied White Sox bats to the tune of four hits in his six and two-thirds innings of work to pick up the win. McCullers threw what seemed to be an effortless 104 pitches and should be available for either game four or five if necessary.