The Los Angeles Angels have hit four leadoff home runs this season, making their most recent connection in a road loss to the Chicago White Sox on Tuesday.
As the Angels bid for a series victory Wednesday -- propelled, perhaps, by another early homer -- they'll face a starter that suddenly isn'tso susceptible to the long ball.
White Sox right-hander Lance Lynn has won three straight starts and four of five in May by gradually improving upon keeping opposing hitters in the yard.
Since surrendering eight home runs in his first six starts, Lynn has allowed four homers over his past five.
In a win at Detroit on Friday, Lynn picked up the victory with six innings of three-run ball, but he still was frustrated after walking a season-high five batters in a 12-3 win.
"I've got to be a little bit more efficient and not walk that many people," Lynn said, "but (they) bailed me out with good defensive plays and scored a bunch of runs."
Manager Pedro Grifol lauded Lynn for keeping his composure, another key to his successful month.
"He gets mad, but that kind of feeds his adrenaline," Grifol said. "He keeps pitching. He really did a good job (Friday) minimizing damage on things that were out of his control."
The Angels will turn to righty Jaime Barria, who is set to make his second start in three appearances after opening the season with 10 consecutive relief outings.
After throwing five shutout innings against visiting Boston on May 22, Barria allowed four unearned runs in the 10th inning of an 8-5 loss to Miami on Saturday. Angels manager Phil Nevin said he wanted the outing to double as a de facto bullpen session for Barria between starts.
Los Angeles has lost four of five on the heels of a four-game winning streak. Strikeouts have doomed the Angels in their series in Chicago thus far. They fanned 16 times in a 6-4 victory Monday, then whiffed 13 more during a 7-3 loss Tuesday.
Andrew Vaughn keyed a five-run fourth-inning rally Tuesday with a bases-clearing double. Romy Gonzalez hit a solo home run and has gone deep in three straight games.
Early homers from Taylor Ward and Shohei Ohtani weren't enough for the Angels. Ohtani, who is batting just .230 in May, is 1-for-8 with three strikeouts in the series.
"He's human; guys go through things like this," Angels manager Phil Nevin said. "You know, he's been pitching well, obviously. He's just missing some here and there, which happens. But good to see him get into one tonight."
Lynn is 4-2 with a 3.30 ERA in 10 career starts against the Angels, with 53 strikeouts in 60 innings. He hasn't faced the club since the third game of the 2021 season, when Lynn took a no-decision at Los Angeles, allowing two unearned runs in 4 2/3 innings.
Barria is 0-2 with a 4.70 ERA in four appearances against the White Sox, including one start.
Eloy Jimenez has an 11-game hitting streak for Chicago.
--Field Level Media