The Los Angeles Dodgers have struggled to figure out their starting rotation throughout the season, which led to acquiring Lance Lynn and Ryan Yarbrough at the trade deadline, while nearly pulling off a deal for Eduardo Rodriguez before he vetoed it.
At the time of the trade, Lynn held a 6.18 ERA, 5.22 FIP and 1.44 WHIP in 115 innings over 20 starts for the Chicago White Sox this season. He also allowed an MLB-worst 79 earned runs and 28 home runs, but the Dodgers believed they could unlock his upside.
The early returns were positive as Lynn made five consecutive starts following the trade giving up three runs or fewer, including three outings of one or less, while pitching deep into games each time out.
However, over his last two starts, Lynn has fallen back into his old ways. He ha allowed 15 total runs in just nine innings, giving up seven to the Atlanta Braves and eight in a loss against the Miami Marlins.
Despite his recent struggles, manager Dave Roberts is still confident Lynn can be relied upon in the Dodgers postseason rotation, via SportsNet LA:
“Yeah, yeah. I can. It’s just more of seeing that high-end stuff from pitch one. I think that’s something when you’re talking about the postseason, it’s not about a governor. It’s about every pitch, every out is important. But yeah, I think we can. Right where we’re at, we’re going to have to lean on him a little bit too.”
The most concerning thing about Lynn’s poor outings is the lack of strikeout stuff he’s shown. In the last 22 innings pitched, he’s struck out just six hitters total.
Lynn’s ability to miss bats was a strength even during his struggles with the White Sox, which is partly why the Dodgers felt they could help him in other areas. If Lynn is not missing bats or striking hitters out, he isn’t going to have much success, especially with his tendency to give up the long ball.
Lynn has given up an MLB-worst 40 home runs this season and now holds a 6.09 ERA and 1.42 WHIP. The Dodgers need him to get back on track when things were going right, but Lynns early success with L.A. is looking like a flash in the pan.
Why the Dodgers are relying on Lance Lynn
Although the Dodgers are putting their trust in Lynn, keeping him in the rotation and relying on him in the postseason may be more of a necessity than a desire.
With Clayton Kershaw pitching through left shoulder trouble, Julio Urías unlikely to be be with the team moving forward, and injuries to Dustin May and Tony Gonsolin, the Dodgers are short on starters.
They do have some talented young arms in Bobby Miller, Ryan Pepiot, Emmet Sheehan and Gavin Stone, but it’s unlikely the Dodgers would feel comfortable relying on multiple rookies to fill their rotation once the playoffs begin. Walker Buehler remains a potential option to return, but it would be in a limited role.
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