LOS ANGELES — The Dodgers traded for Lance Lynn, the pitcher with the highest ERA among qualified major league pitchers this season, but the fact that Lynn does in fact have enough innings to qualify for league leaderboards makes him valuable to Los Angeles.
“I’ve heard nothing but good things about him, about the compete, the preparedness,” manager Dave Roberts said Friday. “He’s a guy that takes the baseball, goes deep into games.”
Going deep is something Lynn does fairly often. He averaged 5.7 innings in his 21 starts for the White Sox, which is higher than any pitcher on the Dodgers not named Clayton Kershaw, who could return as early as next weekend in San Diego if all goes well with Saturday’s simulated game at Dodger Stadium.
Lynn has lasted at least six innings 10 times this season, which is more than any Dodgers pitcher except for Kershaw, who has 12 such starts despite not pitching for the last month.
Pitching relatively deep into games was a strength of the Dodgers for the first month and a half, with a starter going at least six innings 20 times in the season’s first 40 games. Then all hell broke loose, with Dustin May injuring his elbow and Julio Urías straining his hamstring on consecutive days in May. Since then, the Dodgers have gotten 19 outings of at least six innings in 61 games.
Quantity is a box Lynn can check, which is important in that it lessens the burden on the bullpen. But quality? Lynn has a 6.47 ERA, which ranks dead last among the 61 pitchers with qualified innings. Lowering the bar to 80 innings, the only higher ERA than Lynn among this 98-pitcher group is Luke Weaver (7.20), who starts on Saturday for the Reds at Dodger Stadium.
Lynn also leads the majors with 28 home runs allowed.
But the Dodgers are confident Lynn can turn things around with them, looking more like the pitcher with a 3.42 ERA from 2019-22.
“I just feel that getting in this environment, playing meaningful games, will bring out the best in him,” said the ever-optimistic Roberts. “All the home runs he’s given up, I feel that number will balance out ... There’s been a little unluckiness in my view as far as watching some videos.”
The Dodgers rotation can use all the help it can get, such that adding Lynn almost certainly doesn’t preclude them from trading for another pitcher. Dodgers starters entered Friday with a 4.71 ERA, ranking 21st in the majors.
In the final two games against the Reds, the Dodgers will start rookie pitchers with ERAs of 6.75 and 6.19, respectively.
The bar is so low right now, it’s almost on the floor.
As for Lynn, he and Joe Kelly are expected to arrive in Los Angeles at some point this weekend. Roberts said Urías starts on Tuesday against the A’s, but they’ll figure out where to slot in Lynn — who started last Wednesday for the White Sox — into the mix.