Lynn, Rangers take aim at improved White Sox

Field Level Media

Texas Rangers right-hander Lance Lynn boasts a 2.65 ERA in his past three starts.

He has an 0-2 record during that span to show for it.

Still, as the visiting Rangers prepare to resume their weekend series against the Chicago White Sox on Friday night with Lynn on the mound, there isn't any finger pointing. Unless you count the inward variety.

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Lynn (14-8, 3.60 ERA) scattered three runs on four hits in five innings during Sunday's home loss to the Minnesota Twins. Although the Rangers rallied to tie the game after he exited, Lynn walked five batters and threw 112 pitches, frustrating statistics for which he took the fall.

"My command of the strike zone wasn't there all day, really," Lynn said. "When you look at their lineup, you have to be on. I wasn't throwing enough quality strikes, and I was behind in a lot of counts and walked too many guys. I was able to stay in there as long as I could but gave them two runs early, and we were fighting the rest of the game. I have to be better from the get-go."

Lynn continues to enjoy a resurgent season that includes a victory against the White Sox. Recovering from early struggles and benefiting from a potent attack, Lynn defeated Chicago at Globe Life Park on June 22 behind seven innings of five-run, six-hit ball.

The veteran is 4-1 with a 3.04 ERA in eight career starts against the White Sox.

While Lynn figures to remain a rotation cornerstone down the stretch, Rangers manager Chris Woodward said he has spoken with Lynn and lefty Mike Minor about the possibility of missing a start once rosters expand Sept. 1. As with the White Sox, the Rangers are out of the playoff hunt and seeking to evaluate young players.

"They understand," Woodward said of Lynn and Minor. "They're still playing. Their sacrifice this year has been off the field. They've done so much. They all want to play, but they're also seeing our younger guys take that next step in their development."

Rookie righty Dylan Cease (2-6, 5.93 ERA), one of the White Sox's prized young arms, is set to oppose Lynn as Chicago seek its second straight win and fourth in five games. After winning his big league debut July 3 against Detroit, Cease has slumped to a 1-6 record over his past seven starts with a 6.00 ERA.

Those struggles include a 1-3 mark and 5.09 ERA in four August starts covering 23 innings. Cease has pitched past five innings just twice in his past six starts while remaining susceptible to the home run; he has allowed 10 in 44 innings.

"He's been leaving pitches out over the plate a little bit more consistently," White Sox manager Rick Renteria said. "And this is the big leagues. Most of the guys are going to be able to consistently get the barrel to the baseball. It doesn't matter how hard you throw."

Friday marks Cease's first career appearance against Texas.

White Sox left fielder Eloy Jimenez may return to the lineup following a one-day absence with hip soreness. Jimenez missed Thursday's series opener, a 6-1 Chicago victory, as general manager Rick Hahn said the club would "err on the side of caution."

--Field Level Media

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