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Lance Lynn finished fifth in the American League Cy Young Award voting in the 2019 and sixth the next season with the Texas Rangers.
He had his best showing for the honor this season with the Chicago White Sox, placing third behind Toronto Blue Jays starter Robbie Ray and Gerrit Cole of the New York Yankees in results announced Wednesday.
“I’m taking steps toward the ultimate goal as an individual, but you’re not going to be there without your team,” Lynn said Thursday during a conference call. “We had a good year. Obviously, we didn’t finish the way we wanted to (losing in the American League Division Series), and we’ve got a lot to work on to get to that ultimate goal.”
He said his five-hit shutout against the Kansas City Royals in the home opener and starting the Field of Dreams game against the Yankees in Dyersville, Iowa, were among his favorite moments of the season, along with being on a division-winning team.
Lynn finished five innings shy of qualifying for categories such as ERA after missing time with trips to the injured list with a strained right trapezius (April 17-May 1) and right knee inflammation (Aug. 29-Sept. 10). He had good news regarding the knee after an MRI follow-up last week.
“Everything came back in a positive way, so we’re making sure we’re rehabbing, staying on track with that, changing some of the ways I work out and do things like that to strengthen certain areas and make sure that it doesn’t flare up again,” Lynn said. “It’s just part of the offseason (and) going to be a part of a new routine as the season goes on, too, something I’m going to have to do the rest of my career.”
Lynn had the highest finish for a Sox pitcher in Cy Young Award voting since Chris Sale was third in 2014.
Lynn was one of four Sox to receive votes this season. Starter Carlos Rodón, who is a free agent, was fifth, closer Liam Hendriks finished eighth and starter Lucas Giolito was tied for 11th. It was the first time the Sox had two pitchers finish in the top five since LaMarr Hoyt (first) and Richard Dotson (fourth) in 1983.
Lynn is excited to see what’s ahead for the Sox rotation.
“During the regular season, we threw the ball really well,” Lynn said. “We’ve got things that we can improve on, like everybody. But as a whole, make sure that you do the things that you did well this year, make sure you keep those the same, and make sure the things you need to improve on, that you work on them this winter.
“As a group, we’ve got a lot more in the tank. I think we’re kind of scratching the surface. (Pitching coach) Ethan (Katz) and the coaching staff were able to implement a lot of things this year that guys were able to take off and run with. And we’re looking forward to another year and another opportunity to make sure we improve even more going into next year.”
The rotation was a strength during the regular season, but that success didn’t carry over to the playoffs when the starters had a combined 10.22 ERA in the ALDS against the Houston Astros.
“Whenever you’re not the last team standing, you always have that motivation and it always kicks in,” Lynn said. “You’re always going to have that, especially when your last one didn’t go as well as you wanted it to or you didn’t finish the way you would have liked, whether stuff-wise or things like that.
“So there’s a lot to improve on this winter, there’s a lot to get better, whether it’s health or arsenal or pitch usage in certain spots and (against) certain hitters. There’s a lot that goes into it, a lot to be done this winter, so when you get to spring training you can implement things you need to do so you’re ready to go for the season and for the long haul.”