Rangers' Lance Lynn Displays Competitive Edge with Six Sensational Innings on Tuesday

Chris Halicke

ARLINGTON, Texas — Chris Woodward's Opening Day starter may already be ready to go. At least he looked like it on Tuesday at Texas Rangers Summer Camp.

Lance Lynn mowed through the Rangers "A" lineup in Tuesday afternoon's intrasquad game, throwing 83 pitches (61 strikes) over six scoreless innings. He allowed only two hits, no walks, and struck out eight batters. Back-to-back singles from Todd Frazier and Greg Bird in the second inning were the only baserunners until the extended portion of the sixth inning, where he recorded five outs to get to the desired pitch count.

“It went well," Lynn said. "To be able to get six innings at 83 pitches is good. It gets me on pace for what I want to do—to be ready for Opening Day and be full-go with no restrictions. I’m right where I want to be.”

Despite the very informal nature of the intrasquad games, Lynn's competitive mojo was fully on display. Bird's line drive in the second inning was followed by a passionate yell from Lynn that echoed throughout the enclosed Globe Life Field.

“When you get cooped up for three-plus months, it’s easy. Especially when you give up hits and make some pitches you don’t want to make," Lynn said. "I’ll tell you what, this ballpark should have the ability to be loud. One good yell had some good carry, that’s for sure.”

"He had a little chip on his shoulder in the beginning," Rangers manager Chris Woodward said with a smile. "He was talking smack to a lot of our lineup because he knew he was facing our main guys. Honestly, it was really impressive seeing the ball come out of his hand, executing his pitches. Everything looked great."

Lynn is spearheading a potentially dangerous Rangers rotation heading into the 2020 season. With three legitimate choices, Woodward ended up giving the honor to Lynn—a choice he made before baseball was initially shut down in mid-March. 

“I’ve never had (an Opening Day start)," Lynn said. "I had some years that I was capable of getting that call. But early on in my days in St. Louis, I had some guys that had a lot more season behind them and deserved it a lot more than I did. With the year Mike [Minor] and I had last year, we both deserved it. And Corey [Kluber] is a two-time Cy Young award winner. To be able to be named that is an honor.”

The Rangers' road toward competing for a postseason berth was revealed with Major League Baseball's schedule release on Monday evening. While the Rangers have some aspects of the 60-game schedule that could be deemed favorable, it also has its hurdles. The Rangers will travel around 14,706 miles this season—more than any team in baseball.

"We've got some interesting flights," Lynn said. "But what can you do when you are in the West, but you aren't in the West"

Part of the benefit of the Rangers' schedule is a seemingly lighter first half that includes games against some sub-.500 teams in 2019 and some extra off days. The Rangers will have options going forward to potentially experiment with its rotation.

"Julio [Rangel] and I have talked about it. There is one extra day off that we probably don't really want," Woodward said. "Lynn is in a great spot to hit the ground running and just let him go. But we also want to be careful. We've talked about different situations, but for now, I think we will stick with five starters."

Lynn will take the ball when Rangers open the season against the Colorado Rockies at Globe Life Field on July 24.

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