At this rate, Lance Lynn might be bound for Cooperstown.
The most home runs allowed in a season is 50, by Bert Blyleven of the Minnesota Twins in 1986. Blyleven was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2011.
For the record, second on the list, with 48 homers allowed, is Jose Lima in 2000 with the Houston Astros. Four years later he was a Dodger — who can forget Lima Time! — and, although he surrendered 33 homers, he is fondly remembered for pitching the Dodgers’ first postseason shutout since 1988 with a five-hit gem over the St. Louis Cardinals in Game 3 of the National League Division Series.
Lynn leads baseball with 40 home runs allowed this season, 28 with the Chicago White Sox in 120 innings and a dozen with the Dodgers in 40 innings. Lucas Giolito is second at 36. Lynn recognizes this isn’t a list he wants to top, even if it is adorned with mostly successful pitchers.
“I don’t have an answer for the home run ball, outside of missed execution,” he told The Times’ Jack Harris after his last start, when he gave up three in one inning of a loss to the Miami Marlins.
Lynn, acquired at the trade deadline, has given up eight homers and 15 runs in nine innings over his last two starts. The Dodgers won each of his first five starts with them, but he has alarmingly regressed.
He’s scheduled to start Tuesday night against the San Diego Padres and is likely to make three more regular-season starts beyond that. He’s pitched 160 innings this season, meaning he gives up an average of one home run every four innings. Assuming he averages six innings in each of his last four starts and gives up home runs at the same rate, he’d surrender another six homers over 24 innings.
Not that he’s doing the math.
“Once you go over 30, who gives a s—?” he deadpanned after getting torched in Miami. “I’ve had years where I don’t give up any and I’ve been way worse of a pitcher. That’s the crazy part about this game.”
Lynn’s home runs per nine innings is a staggering 2.5, much higher than Blyleven, who pitched 271 2/3 innings the year he gave up 50 homers and 267 innings the year he gave up 46.
Surrendering home runs hasn’t always been a problem for Lynn, who is 133-95 with a respectable 3.74 earned-run average over 1,865 innings in 12 seasons. He’s given up 211 homers in his career, averaging one per nine innings.
And he’s nowhere near the top of the list of pitchers who gave up the most home runs in a career. Jamie Moyer, the soft-throwing left-hander who incredibly pitched 25 seasons and retired in 2010 at age 49, gave up a record 522 home runs.
The next four on the list — Roberts (505), Fergie Jenkins (485), Phil Niekro (482) and Don Sutton (472) — all have something in common besides watching an enormous number of hitters trot around the bases while they stood on the mound.
Take a guess.
Yep! They are all in the Hall of Fame.