White Sox up for challenge in 3-0 win over Rays
Lance Lynn has been around the block a few times, so the White Sox's 34-year-old starting pitcher wasn't too upset with Monday night's 5-2 loss to the Rays.
"Yeah, it's June," Lynn said. "No one gives a (bleep)."
In the grand scheme of the 162-game, Lynn's assessment is both accurate and amusing.
But he's also been to the playoffs six times and won a World Series ring, so Lynn knows playing a stout team like Tampa Bay at any point during the year is beneficial.
"We have some guys seeing what a team that was in the World Series (last season) looks like," Lynn said. "They have some talent top to bottom, guys who can pitch and who give you all kind of different looks coming out of the bullpen. You are looking at a mid-June challenge, which is fun."
On Tuesday night, the Sox were up for the challenge.
Backed by an impressive start by Dallas Keuchel, a solo home run from Adam Engel, a Danny Mendick RBI single and some poor defensive work from Rays catcher Francisco Mejia in the fourth inning, the White Sox bounced back nicely with a 3-0 win.
Keuchel pitched 7 innings and scattered 4 hits and had 5 strikeouts. The left-hander threw 102 pitches while lowering his ERA to 3.78.
"He works quick and he gets outs," said shortstop Tim Anderson, who was 3-for-4. "It's definitely fun playing behind him. He definitely makes the game go a lot quicker getting outs."
Over 19 innings in June, Keuchel has allowed only 3 earned runs. He wasn't happy with some sluggish outings in April and May.
"I think sometimes I get, I don't get complacent, I just get comfortable within my own self," Keuchel said. "Sometimes that will in turn make the tempo a little bit slower than I would normally intend it to be. I want to make sure the hitter knows I'm coming with a strike, pitch in, pitch out.
"I think I was pitching a little timid, not like myself the first two months. That was a point that (Ethan) Katz brought up to me and that's a sign of a really good pitching coach. We've been trying to kind of get the tempo going a little bit more, be more athletic, not just a robot on the mound."
With the win, the White Sox improved to 11-14 against teams with winning records. They are 28-7 against teams with losing records.
"Definitely huge," Anderson said after the Sox (42-25) beat a Tampa Bay team that has the best record (43-25) in baseball. "You want to beat teams like that. That's a good ballclub."