Yes, we’re going sorta-medieval with the title this week… as opposed to going sorta-cowboy, which is one of my favorites y’all. I mean, when else would you reference “a glancing blow” but in a friendly (or not so much) game of jousting? And there’s more than one meaning here! I know, I’m so good at this writing stuff… but if you’ll consider; a glancing blow is defined as a hit that doesn’t quite land with full power and glides off. Probably because wearing iron underwear that weighs 2,352 pounds and using a sword the size of Nebraska makes it hard to move and swing. That’s just me though, and my iron underwear is only like 50 pounds. Modern science everyone. But, I think the title is apt, not just because I think I’m too profoundly clever for my own good, but because even though Lance Lynn is struggling, it may not be as bad as you think. Thus, a glancing blow? Naw, more like a Lance-ing blow…
Hey, look, only took me like 200 words to explain the title. But yes, the fact remains, Lance Lynn has not pitched well, and that’s putting it quite mildly. In case you need a reminder to drink some Pepto Bismol, in 39.1 innings pitched over seven starts, Lynn has managed, quite impressively in a way, to sustain a 6.86 ERA, a 5.12 xERA on a pretty astounding 2.06 HR/9. While there was a large jump up in ERA and an overall drop in production from his 2021 to 2022 seasons, I don’t think many expected 2023 to start off so rocky.
And there are plenty of reasons why Lynn is having a hard time thus far. His BB/9 of 3.43 and accompanying .360 BABIP are pretty much neutralizing his still strong (in fact, career-high) K/9 which sits at 11.44. But his last start this past weekend was a good effort, as he gave up four runs (baby steps!) and eight hits in 6.2 innings, but struck out eight without walking a batter and did net the win. Is this a sign of things to come?
I actually think so. Take for instance the simple fact that Lynn’s last three starts have actually been okay-ish, including the one reference right above. He’s stuck out 22 over 18 innings, and while he’s given up 12 earned runs, the three homeruns and five walks issued over those 18 innings are not bad! I know it’s luke-warm praise, I get that, but even though I’m cherry picking, you remove just one start (preferably the one against the Giants in his second start where Lance Lynn gave up eight earned runs) well, the 2023 things on his stat sheet start looking like all the other career things.
Some of that is showing up in his profile and stats too. The first encouraging sign is Lynn’s xFIP sitting at 3.64, certainly a deviation from his 6.86 ERA (and 5.00 FIP). His Statcast data also remains stable. EV, LA, and HardHit% remain in line with his career. Same with his batted ball numbers… his GB/FB and spray chart remain in line with where he should be sans the obvious HR/FB change. Don’t forget either that Lynn struggled out of the gate last season too. In his first six starts in 2022, Lynn had already given up 24 earned runs in his first 26.2 innings, including a game in which he gave up, you guessed it (or didn’t?); eight earned runs. After giving up six earned runs in his sixth start, he didn’t give up more than four until two months later. While that doesn’t guarantee that Lynn will snap out of it this season, it’s nice to see that the past could be prologue here.
It is certainly easy to look at Lance Lynn’s stats and wonder what you’re doing there and why. Okay, maybe it’s not to the level of an existential crisis, but I think there is enough here to see the light at the end of the tunnel. And to follow through with the metaphor, no, I do not think the light is coming from a train. The homeruns should settle as Lynn does… I don’t pretend to know when that is, but the numbers are encouraging and the fact that he had this same slow start last season leads me to believe that… wait for it, we are just experiencing a Lance-ing blow…
This ain’t my first rodeo folks!
Jay is a longtime Razzball everything who consumes an egregious amount of Makers Mark as a vehicle to gain wisdom and augment his natural glow. Living in the D.C. area, he also likes spending time visiting the local parks and feeding lettuce to any turtles he encounters, including Mitch McConnell.