Lance Lynn’s home run problems continue in Dodgers’ blowout loss to Marlins

The Dodgers' Lance Lynn delivers a pitch during the first inning against the Miami Marlins.
The Dodgers’ Lance Lynn delivers a pitch during the first inning against the Marlins on Wednesday in Miami.
(Wilfredo Lee / Associated Press)

Lance Lynn’s home run problems still aren’t solved. And the Dodgers’ pitching problems sure don’t seem to be either.

A day after Clayton Kershaw seemed limited by shoulder troubles, and hours after Julio Urías was placed on administrative leave following his Sunday night arrest on suspicion of felony domestic violence, the Dodgers watched another potential October option in Lynn struggle mightily Wednesday in an 11-4 loss to the Miami Marlins.

In his second straight troublesome start, following a seven-run outing against the Atlanta Braves last week, Lynn came unglued in the bottom of the fifth at loanDepot Park.


He gave up three home runs in the inning, raising his MLB-leading total to 40. He was charged with two more runs after departing with two outs, pushing his ERA back over 6.00 following an eight-run, 4⅔-inning effort.

And, most alarmingly, he looked little like a pitcher the Dodgers could trust in the postseason, another question mark on their increasingly makeshift pitching staff.

“Just an absolute disaster,” Lynn said. “I blew up. Can’t happen.”

In his last two starts, including Tuesday’s 6-3 loss to the Miami Marlins, Dodgers pitcher Clayton Kershaw has seen the velocity on his fastball dive.

Sept. 5, 2023

When Lynn was acquired at the trade deadline, he was expected to simply be an innings-eater. The Dodgers always hoped for more, expecting his sky-high home run rate to normalize and competitive nature to blossom in a playoff race. But as far as October was concerned, Lynn seemed likely to be a nonfactor, even after a promising 1.44 ERA through his first four starts with the team.

By Wednesday, however, circumstances had changed.

Urías might not pitch again this season. Kershaw’s stuff has looked diminished by his lingering shoulder injury.

And suddenly, during his pregame media scrum hours before first pitch, manager Dave Roberts was contemplating Lynn’s potential role on the playoff roster, leaving open the possibility for the veteran to either start games or pitch bulk innings out of the bullpen.

Based on the performance that followed, the safer answer might be neither.

After four scoreless innings to start the game, Lynn was battered by a Marlins offense that entered the night ranked 25th in the majors in scoring and was without one of its best bats, Jorge Soler, who went on the injured list before the game.


No. 9 hitter Joey Wendle started the onslaught with a two-run homer, turning around an elevated fastball on a line drive to right. After a couple of walks, Jazz Chisholm Jr. broke the inning open with a three-run moonshot to left. Two batters later, Jesús Sánchez added a solo blast for good measure.

Miami Marlins' Jesus Sanchez celebrates with third base/infield coach Jody Reed after Sanchez hit a home run.
Miami Marlins’ Jesus Sanchez, right, celebrates with third base/infield coach Jody Reed (33) after Sanchez hit a home run during the fifth inning against the Dodgers, on Wednesday in Miami.
(Wilfredo Lee / Associated Press)

“I’ve pitched way too long,” said Lynn, a 12th-year veteran, “to have an inning like that.”

Lynn is averaging 2.5 home runs per nine innings with the Dodgers, an unthinkable increase from his 2.1 with the Chicago White Sox earlier this year.

He has struck out just five batters in his last three games, losing the swing-and-miss weapon that made him an appealing target for the Dodgers. And since that strong four-game introduction, he quickly backslid in three starts since, finishing Wednesday with a 10.80 ERA over that span.

“Certainly, the results haven’t been good,” Roberts said. “But I don’t have an answer for the home run ball, outside of missed execution.”


Lynn’s analysis?

“Once you go over 30, who gives a s—?” he deadpanned. “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.”

Julio Urías, who was arrested Sunday on suspicion of felony domestic violence, will remain on administrative leave ‘until further notice,’ according to the league.

Sept. 6, 2023

Asked if he still could trust Lynn to start a playoff game, Roberts said yes, noting that Lynn, who is averaging only 92.4 mph with his fastball, has “a lot in the tank as far as velocity” to tap into come October.

“[We need to be] seeing that high-end stuff from Pitch 1,” Roberts said, adding: “Where we’re at, we’re gonna have to lean on him a little bit too.”

Indeed, with all the other uncertainties saddling the Dodgers’ pitching at the moment, getting Lynn back on track is a far-bigger priority than they could have imagined when they acquired him.

And if Wednesday was any indication, it could serve as yet another imposing obstacle for a team that, with five losses in its last six games, finds itself facing plenty of them over the season’s final month.