Many baseball people don’t like Opening Day and all of the fanfare. The game is almost an afterthought. The day after, however, is when baseball takes center stage.
The same is true for a player after his major-league debut. Family and friends might not be there, and the series of firsts likely has run its course. In his second start, especially for a pitcher, he can focus on his job, retiring batters and learning from the few things he actually remembers from his debut.
That is the case for rookie left-hander Daniel Lynch (0-0, 5.79 ERA) as he gets set to take the mound for the Kansas City Royals on Saturday night against the visiting Chicago White Sox in the second game of a three-game series.
The White Sox won the first game 3-0 Friday night. With the Cleveland Indians’ loss to the Cincinnati Reds, the White Sox moved into first place in the American League Central. The Royals have lost six straight games and have been shut out the past two.
“I think the big thing was just to pitch my game,” Lynch said when asked what he learned in his first start against the Indians on Monday that could carry over to this outing.
“I felt at times I tried to do a little bit too much and got out of doing what I usually do.
“When you get with a new team, or at a new level, you sometimes get into a situation where you’re not as comfortable. You kind of do things differently. The work I did this week was to try to just pitch my game and believe in what I do.”
His manager, Mike Matheny, said he thinks that will be enough to earn him his first victory.
“Game one was pretty good,” Matheny said. “I’d like to see more of the same. His response would be, ‘Let me keep pitching,’ and my response would be, ‘OK. You go out there and be really good and we’ll continue to give you more opportunities.’
“The next step for our starting rotation is to get deeper into the sixth inning, if not beyond. Daniel doesn’t need help with that (motivation). He can’t wait to get out there.”
Lynch gave up three runs on four hits and four walks in 4 2/3 innings with three strikeouts against the Indians.
If Lynch is to be successful on Saturday, it will be against a sturdy Chicago lineup, even without some of its missing pieces. The White Sox are fourth in the American League in batting average (.252) and fifth in OPS (.721), even with sluggers Eloy Jimenez and Luis Robert out with long-term injuries.
Jimenez is expected to miss the entire season as he recovers from surgery to repair a ruptured left pectoral tendon, and Robert suffered a Grade 3 strain of his right hip flexor last weekend that will keep him out at least three months.
The White Sox will send right-hander Lance Lynn (2-1, 1.82) to the mound on Saturday. In his most recent start, after spending 15 days on the IL, Lynn picked up the win against Cleveland on May 1. Lynn allowed three earned runs on four hits in five innings.
“You’re out here to do everything you can to help your team win and show what you’re about and show what you’re capable of,” Lynn said after the game. “The young kids are seeing, ‘Hey, you put in the work, you do what you’re capable of and you make sure that you’re here every day and doing the things that you need to do, you can enjoy this game, too.’ That’s what makes it fun.”
In his only outing against the Royals this year, Lynn threw a five-hit shutout in Chicago on April 8. In his career against Kansas City, Lynn is 5-2 with a 3.73 ERA over 10 starts.
–Field Level Media