Major League Baseball

Lynn faces White Sox as Rangers mull contender status

mlb14WHITE SOX (36-37) AT RANGERS (40-36)
9:05 p.m. ET; FSSW, NBCSCH, MLB.TV

Everything’s bigger in Texas, goes the adage, and so it is with Rangers veteran right-hander Lance Lynn.

“He’s a big man with a towering presence,” Cleveland Indians rookie outfielder Oscar Mercado said. “It feels like he’s kind of on top of you.”

The 6-foot-5, 280-pound Lynn continues to assert himself on the mound in his first season with Texas, and he will look to keep his success rolling against the visiting Chicago White Sox($17) on Saturday night.

Lynn (8-4, 4.16 ERA) is 6-2 with a 3.17 ERA in his past 10 starts. His current run of eight straight quality starts included Monday’s dominant outing against the Indians, when he allowed one run and six hits in seven innings with nine strikeouts and zero walks.

“He had everything going,” Mercado said. “He was throwing fastballs in and cutters and sliders away. His fastball had real good life. You felt like you were on it, but you could never get the bat head out all night.”

In seven starts against the White Sox in his career, Lynn is 3-1 with a 2.49 ERA.

Chicago won Friday’s series opener 5-4 in 10 innings to move within one game of .500. The White Sox continue to show improvement after losing 100 games in 2018.

“I knew what they were last year,” said White Sox reliever Evan Marshall, who was with Cleveland in 2018. “I played against them last year, and this year, it’s not that. This year, you’ve seen the evolution and growth of the young players and the guys taking a leap forward, and you see it in our record.”

Journeyman right-hander Odrisamer Despaigne (0-2, 8.71 ERA) will look to secure a series victory for the White Sox, as well as his first win in a Chicago uniform. Saturday marks the third start for Despaigne since the White Sox purchased his contract from Triple-A Charlotte.

On Sunday, Despaigne surrendered seven runs on nine hits in 4 1/3 innings in a lopsided home loss to the New York Yankees($9).

Despaigne has made two appearances, including one start, against the Rangers in his career. He is 0-1 with a 7.50 ERA, having allowed five earned runs in six innings overall.

The Rangers are expecting the return of veteran lineup regulars Joey Gallo (left oblique strain) and Hunter Pence (right groin strain) from the injured list before the end of June, likely creating a predicament for the club.

While Texas remains cognizant of developing its younger contributors, it is also contending for an American League wild-card spot.

Rangers manager Chris Woodward acknowledges that the organization is “constantly weighing” that reality as the All-Star break looms.

“I think you just start the season with this idea that we want to win,” Woodward said. “But we also want to make sure our younger guys get every opportunity to develop at the big-league level. And then when you have either underperformers or mediocre performers, how far are we going to withstand failure, as long as they’re doing everything we ask and everything to promote the growth, which may not show up on the field?

“It may flip around, but the further it gets into the season, that’s where really identifying who is making progress (becomes critical).”

General manager Jon Daniels sees no need for the Rangers to label themselves.

“There is a meaningful component to development of playing time coming from competition,” he said. “I don’t think there has to be a declaration.”

–Field Level Media

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