Jun 15, 2021 6 min read

Lance Lynn can't do it all himself

Lance Lynn can't do it all himself

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Good morning, frents!

It seems like every day in June brings an opportunity to remember the anniversary of the Bulls clinching a title or the Hawks lifting a Stanley Cup. The 2015 Cup, for example, turns six today.

And while I could watch Patrick Kane burying that insurance goal over and over again, it sure would be nice to interrupt our nostalgia sessions with an actual playoff run from either team.

— Kevin

Monday's results
Mets 5, Cubs 2
Rays 5, Sox 2

Today's schedule
Cubs at Mets (6:10, Marquee)
Rays at Sox (7:10, NBCSCH)
Sky at Lynx (8, ESPN2)

The One-Man Gang needed help

With right-hander Lance Lynn looking like latter-day LaMarr Hoyt and set to duel Tampa Bay's Tyler Glasnow in the series opener between the two top teams in the American League, the best news the White Sox made Monday came in the form of a statement about slugger Eloy Jiménez.

Medical staff cleared Jiménez to resume baseball activities 82 days after he ruptured his left pectoral tendon trying to catch a home run during the final week of Spring Training. Jiménez will get to work shortly at the Sox’s Camelback Ranch site in suburban Phoenix. This phase of his rehab will take no fewer than four weeks. Then comes a rehab assignment, and then… let’s not get too ahead of ourselves.

At the time of the injury, the Sox expected Jiménez to miss 5-6 months — and it still could be that long by the time he gets back in the lineup — but the latest news indicates that his recovery couldn't be going any better than it is right now.

So, even if the Sox had a better result than a 5-2 loss to the Rays, the Jiménez news should put a smile on the collective face of Sox fans. Because the Sox are going to need Jiménez in the lineup by the time things get serious.

Look at what the Sox put out there against the Rays to back Lynn:

Lynn wasn't his bearded best, but three runs allowed over six innings is usually good enough to win with this team. Lynn even gave up two runs in the first inning after coming in pitching a collective shutout in the first inning all season. You can't expect a guy —  maybe Jacob deGrom — but you can't expect a guy to be perfect in the first inning for 33 starts.

Lynn missed a couple of spots in the first and the Rays jumped all over his mistakes. Randy Arozarena hit a double and Austin Meadows launched a deep two-run home run after another ball caught too much of the plate in his wheelhouse. And to expect Lynn to keep his ERA near "Bob Gibson 1968" territory, it's just not likely. Even if Lynn wins the AL Cy Young Award, his ERA's going up and nothing can stop it. Hey, even LaMarr won the Cy Young with a 3.66 ERA in 1983 when he went 24-10. The belly and the beard are powerful imagery, though.

Long story short: The Sox will need Eloy's bat, maybe not now, because they're managing to run fourth in MLB in runs scored even with the spare parts they're running out there every day. But the Sox are going to need more thump. José Abreu won't get every clutch hit ever. There are more moves to be made and more mainstays who need to get healthy for the Sox to have a chance in the postseason tournament. Brian Goodwin has been great, but he can’t be the best name brought in. Then again, the Sox should cruise to the AL Central title even with the roster they have. The urgency to add might not be there for the front office.

The Sox have done such a great job making lemonade this season after repeatedly being handed a bag of lemons by the baseball gods. Jiménez, Luis Robert, (until recently) Adam Engel, Nick Madrigal, Michael Kopech, Billy Hamilton. They keep putting up W's anyway. This is obviously one of those teams that's greater than the sum of its parts. But there will come a time (October) when all of these Jake Lambs and Leury Garcias and every day with Danny Mendick isn't going to cut it. We saw a glimpse of the future against the Rays, even though Glasnow left the game early because of an injury. The Sox were still limited in what they could do against the Rays pen. Tampa Bay has probably the deepest pitching staff in the league and it put the Sox part-timers in their place.

If you want another parallel between ‘83 and today that goes beyond Lynn’s and Hoyt’s comparable aesthetic, the Sox of yore made only one big in-season move, the acquisition of Julio Cruz. As they were on the way to winning the old AL West by 20 games, legend has it they also came close to pulling off a trade for Buddy Bell before the Rangers owner nixed the deal. General manager Roland Hemond was onto something. Maybe the Sox beat the Orioles in the ALCS with Buddy Bell in the lineup. The 2021 Sox will need a Buddy Bell or two added somewhere on the field, or else this season’s going down like ‘83, which was all fun and games until the playoffs started.

Next: Dallas Keuchel (5-1, 4.14) starts the middle game against Shane "Don't Call Me Rue" McClanahan (2-1, 4.54).

Trivia
Lynn is the third Lance to play for the Sox. Name the two others.

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News and results

Mets 5, Cubs 2

Well, here's an ominous sign: Jake Arrieta's ERA over his last six starts is ... 6.66. Jake's recent struggles continued in Queens as he gave up four earned runs with five hits and four walks over five innings. It's not that surprising that Arrieta is having consistency issues, but he has to find a way to be more like last week's start in San Diego than any of the efforts he's posted around that.

  • The lone good news from Citi Field? Anthony Rizzo and Patrick Wisdom hit back to back homers in the seventh.
  • Oh, and the Reds beat the Brewers 10-2 so the Cubs stay tied for first with Milwaukee (though Cincinnati is now four games behind both).

Next: Alec Mills. (2-0, 6.08) returns from his IL stint to make only his second start of the season — and his first since April 13. Taijuan Walker (5-2, 2.07) gets the ball for the Mets.

Allen Robinson expected at mini-camp

A source told the Sun-Times' Jason Lieser that the wide receiver will be at Halas Hall, despite being peeved at being franchise-tagged. That's in line with what we know of A-Rob's character and, as a Bears fan, no complaints here.

Bears work out Brandon Marshall

No, not that one. The former Broncos linebacker is 31 and hasn't played in the NFL since 2018. The cap-strapped Bears will have to get creative to solve some of their depth problems and this looks like one of those attempts.

  1. Cris Collinsworth slides in to say the Bears are the most interesting team in the NFL. The Spun
  2. Luis Medina reads some media tea leaves to guess that Matt Nagy will slow play Justin Fields' development.  Bleacher Nation

3. Jamal Collier on the Bulls' needs at point guard. Tribune

4. The best soccer bars to watch Euro 2021. Urban Matter

5. The Fire announced a return to 100 percent capacity at Soldier Field starting July 3. Tribune

Finally, a homer every six at-bats is good ... right?

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Trivia answer: Lance Johnson and Lance Broadway (a Sox reliever 5last seen grinding out extra roles in Hollywood).

Longtime Chicago guy. A professional writer and editor since 1998. Member of Baseball Writers Association of America since 2013.

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