When Lance Lynn gave up a big fourth inning in Houston on Monday night, it certainly wasn’t the first time this season. Despite success against Houston in his career and the Astros middling offense this season, Lynn surrendered all four of his earned runs in the fourth.
It stuck out to me that Lynn had given up big innings before this year, but how true was that? Let’s take a look at some numbers.
Lynn has given up three or more earned runs in seven of his 16 starts this season. How many of those seven starts included a big inning? Let’s find out.
6/26 4-3 L @ HOU 4/4 ER given up in 4th inning
6/15 13-7 W @ MIA 4/7 ER given up in 2nd inning
6/9 11-4 W @ CIN 2/4 ER given up in 2nd & 5th innings each
5/18 6-4 L vs MIL 3/4 ER given up in 3rd inning
5/13 6-3 W vs NYM 3/3 ER given up in 2nd inning
4/15 10-6 W @ PIT 3/4 ER given up in 3rd inning
4/3 10-9 L @ ARI 3/4 ER given up in 5th inning
So, based on the seven of Lynn’s 16 outings in which he has given up three or more earned runs, we can point to five with big innings (either all or all but one of the earned runs given up in a single inning) and the sixth with four runs of the seven given up in a single inning. That qualifies as six of the seven outings having “big” or “blow up” innings.
Are there any more trends we can pick up on?
Most of Lynn’s splits are pretty consistent. In the fifth inning, Lynn gives up his highest ERA (5.14) and highest opponents batting average (.339), but as the above table shows, the fifth inning was only the “blow up” inning once.
Lynn has opponent batting averages of .187 his first time through an order, .254 the second time through, and .210 the third time through. But again, that isn’t very conclusive when compared to the above seven starts. The same goes for his pitch count splits.
Unfortunately, it seems that there isn’t really any data to pin down why the blow up innings are happening for Lynn. The good news is, in some cases, they are coming in wins.
All of this isn’t to say Lynn hasn’t been good this year, it’s mostly to point out that he has been good in spite of some pretty glaring issues. And for the time being, that is a “blow up” the Cardinals have been able to weather.