May 20, 2024

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.

Blyleven also is tied for third on the list at 46 with Bronson Arroyo and Robin Roberts — who also is in the Hall of Fame.

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 41 home runs allowed this season, 28 with the Chicago White Sox in 120 innings and 13 with the Dodgers in 47 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 said after giving up three in one inning of a loss to the Miami Marlins a week ago.

Lynn has pitched decently since being acquired at the trade deadline. He’s 5-2 with a 4.60 ERA with the Dodgers after going seven innings and earning the win Tuesday night against the San Diego Padres. He did yield a solo home run to Fernando Tatis Jr.

“The offense did a great job giving me the lead, the defense made great plays behind me, and the bullpen needed it,” Lynn said. “So it was a good win all the way around.”

Lynn’s effectiveness will be essential to the Dodgers’ postseason success. Julio Urías is on administrative leave after his arrest on suspicion of domestic violence and isn’t expected to pitch again for the Dodgers. The starting rotation is down to Lynn, veteran Clayton Kershaw and a satchel of rookies headed by Bobby Miller.

Whittling the number of home runs he allows would be desirable to Lynn. He’s pitched 167 innings this season, meaning he gives up an average of nearly one home run every four innings. Assuming he averages six innings in each of his last three starts and yields home runs at the same rate, he’d surrender another four or five homers over 18 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 134-95 with a respectable 3.74 earned-run average over 1,872 innings in 12 seasons. He’s given up 212 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.

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