After being swept by the Red Sox, the Yankees tried their luck with the White Sox and found that maybe all they needed to get back on track was a change of laundry and a start from newcomer Lance Lynn. The Yankees slid back to 9 1/2 games out of first behind the BoSox after the sweep, which means that even though the Yankees can take over the division on paper, unless Boston has a collapse of 1978 proportions and Bucky Dent rises from the land of the retired to start hitting homers over the green monster, the Yankees are playing for the wildcard. The problem, as it has been all season, isn’t the hitting, it’s the pitching, and Lynn may be one of the answers.
After Sonny Gray had his 2 2/3 inning failed outing against Baltimore, coupled with the revelation of a racist tweet that relegated him to mop-up duty, Lynn took over from the pen and went 4 1/3 scoreless. Now, in Gray’s old rotation spot, Lynn went 7 1/3 scoreless, providing the Yankees with a win that stopped the bleeding, kept them in first place in the wildcard, and gave the bullpen a needed break after being shelled in Boston.
According to ESPN, Lynn is putting up the kind of numbers it was once projected he was capable of. He’s now thrown 11 2/3 scoreless innings, scattering only six hits and whiffing 14 batters with a single walk. His control has been excellent, he has good movement on his breaking ball, and even his velocity looks like it may have picked up a tick or two on the gun. For fans who remember Aaron Small coming out of seemingly nowhere to carry the staff, Lynn is drawing similar comparisons.
Giancarlo Stanton can only smile after being K'd by a......— Cut4 (@Cut4) August 7, 2018
POSITION. PLAYER. PITCHING. pic.twitter.com/nT25qPnuSJ
While no one actually believes Lynn is completely back to the level of play he was known for in St. Louis, as alluded to by SouthSideSox, he has been steadily improving after holding out until the middle of March this season for a new deal. This is by far his best statistical outing in a very long time, and it does provide the Yankees with the possibility that in a short series, he can be a potential stopper against a sweep.
In related news, after the collapse of Aroldis Chapman against Boston, fans are wondering if Chapman is as healthy as he professes to be. There is some limited speculation that Zach Britton, who joined the Yankees at the non-waiver trading deadline along with Lynn, may move into the closer role temporarily to give Chapman some rest. Reports of mild interest in Sonny Gray has been reported, but no potential deals have been offered on the beleaguered former starter.