Lance Lynn paused for a moment while warming up for the bottom of the fifth inning Saturday at Progressive Field.
The Chicago White Sox starter received a visit from the training staff after experiencing a “tweak in his back,” according to manager Tony La Russa. After a couple of warmup throws, Lynn remained in the game.
“I wouldn’t even call it a ‘tug’ — it just felt weird for a second,” Lynn said. “And then once I was able to throw a couple more pitches, I was good to go.”
Lynn allowed six runs on seven hits and struck out six in six innings in a 6-0 loss to Cleveland in front of 24,082 fans.
Lynn was on the injured list Aug. 29-Sept. 10 with right knee inflammation.
“That’s probably what caused it,” he said of Saturday’s brief discomfort.
It was the second straight night the Sox had a scare with a starting pitcher. Dylan Cease on Friday exited in the fifth inning after being hit on his pitching arm with a hard comebacker. X-rays were negative, and Cease’s status is day to day, the Sox said.
Lynn on Friday surrendered two home runs — a two-run shot to José Ramίrez in the first and a solo blast to Andrés Giménez in the third. The Sox’s inability to execute defensively paved the way for a three-run Cleveland sixth.
Lynn saw some positives in the 105-pitch outing.
“We got over 100 pitches,” Lynn said. “I’m able to use everything I want. We’re still fine-tuning some things on certain sides of the plate.
“The two home runs were really the only two pitches I was mad about all night, got too much part of the plate. But other than that, everything’s right where it needs to be for one more tuneup before the playoffs.”
Lynn awaits the next challenge.
“I don’t really know the way it’s going to line up in the playoffs or where I’m lining up next,” he said. “But if you don’t go again (before the end of the regular season), that’s too much time in between. So we’ll figure it out from there.”
The offense and defense were not up to playoff standard. The Sox were limited to three hits, doubles by Yoán Moncada and Eloy Jiménez and a single by José Abreu.
“Better at-bats, hit the ball in the strike zone, don’t chase,” La Russa said. “Can’t strike out like we’ve been striking out (eight Saturday). A day like today we’re back on our heels. The other team beat us to the punch, offensively and defensively. That’s not how we play.”
Cleveland starter Eli Morgan allowed one hit, struck out six and walked one in six innings.
“He has an excellent change-up,” La Russa said. “It really is a quality difference, and he’s got a fastball he moves around. He’s got a breaking ball, but the change-up has got a lot of movement to it and is very deceptive.”
And La Russa said Lynn’s line score was “very misleading. He pitched a lot better than that.”
“The home run in the first inning, the pitch was not where he wanted it, he made a mistake and paid for it,” La Russa said. “(Giménez) had a pitch where he missed his target. Sometimes you get away with it and it’s a single or double, or it’s a home run and it’s three runs.
“But after that, (Lynn) made a lot of good pitches. Lot of movement all over the strike zone. They got all those ground balls in that (sixth) inning. I’m not trying to punish our defenders, but you fumble the ball, it’s an error. It shouldn’t go against the pitcher. There were two of them. It was not one of our better games.”
Grounders to César Hernández and Tim Anderson by Myles Straw and Amed Rosario were ruled infield hits, setting the stage for the three-run sixth.
“They scored three runs and got a bunch of hits,” is how Lynn described the inning. He is confident “everything’s good” as the Sox get closer to returning to for the final homestand Tuesday.
“We clinched (Thursday),” Lynn said. “It’s been a long road trip. Everyone’s over the road trip, to be honest with you. We’re looking forward to getting back home.
“But we’ve got two more games on this road trip, need to finish up strong, keep moving, keep everybody healthy, getting their at-bats, playing what they need to play to get ready for October.”