If the Dodgers are one of the many teams circling around Rangers right-hander Lance Lynn — and they are — they did what they could to lower the price.
The Dodgers got to Lynn for four runs in six innings Saturday on the way to handing him and the Texas Rangers a 7-4 defeat at Globe Life Field.
Lynn is likely to be the top starting pitcher moved before Monday’s trade deadline. Saturday’s loss still leaves him with a sparkly 1.93 ERA to attract suitors. But the four runs matched the most he has allowed in any of his past 13 starts.
“I think we had our plan pregame and we just prepared for him,” said Cody Bellinger who had a two-run home run and a walk in three times facing Lynn. “We knew what he had. We knew he has good heaters and really good stuff. We just stuck with our plan and we succeeded against him.”
If the Dodgers are motivated to work a deal for Lynn (or another starting pitcher), it is performances like Ross Stripling’s Saturday that are part of the motivation. Neither Stripling nor Julio Urias have stepped forward to fill the void in the Dodgers’ rotation created when David Price opted out of playing this season.
Stripling allowed home runs on back-to-back pitches to Ronald Guzman and Leody Taveras in the third inning, the major-league high 11th and 12th home runs Stripling has allowed already this season (more than he allowed in 90 innings pitched last season).
“The same thing — two really bad fastballs to try to get into the count and they’re both homers,” Stripling lamented. “It seems like every now and then one would just get ripped down the line for a double or hit hard through the 6-hole. But for some reason, they’re always homers. Just can’t take any pitches off, especially fastballs. Every fastball just has to be executed because I’m showing how much damage I’m giving up.”
Blake Treinen had to rescue Stripling after he allowed the first two batters in the fifth inning to reach base, the fourth consecutive start in which Stripling has failed to complete five innings. Another run scored before Treinen closed out the inning, bloating Stripling’s ERA to 5.61 this season.
“I feel like I’ve thrown the ball well. It’s just fastball location,” said Stripling who has shown increased velocity this season. “Just have to be really careful. I know starters around the big leagues, they get hurt on their fastballs. That’s what being a starter in the big leagues is, using your off-speed to get them off your heater. My heater is just getting exposed right now and every one that I throw that’s a mistake gets hammered. If I can just put those fastballs on the black and then live with my off-speed stuff I feel like moving forward I’ll have success.”
Held to two runs in their first look at pitcher-friendly Globe Life Field Friday, the Dodgers got on the board with an unearned run off Lynn in the second inning when left fielder Shin-Soo Choo bobbled A.J. Pollock’s double in the corner, allowing Matt Beaty to score.
In the third, the ballpark with the lowest home run rate in the majors yielded one, Bellinger’s two-run shot (his fifth homer in the past 10 games).
“I’ve been feeling good,” said Bellinger who is 13 for 37 (.351) over those past 10 games. “I missed it (Lynn’s four-seam fastball) my first at-bat (a long foul fly), got it again in my second at-bat, tried to put the same swing on it. That time I just connected.”
A leadoff walk led to another run off Lynn in the fifth inning. After Austin Barnes drew the walk, Mookie Betts doubled him to third and Max Muncy’s fly ball to the wall was hauled in by right fielder Joey Gallo for a sacrifice fly.
Muncy had better distance in the seventh inning when he put the game firmly in the Dodgers’ hands with a three-run home run off Rangers reliever Taylor Hearn. The Dodgers’ bullpen gave up just one unearned run on four hits over the final five innings.
“I just thought collectively we had a good gameplan,” Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said of the success against Lynn. “I was really impressed with Cody (1 for 3 with two walks). I thought he controlled the strike zone really well.”