ARLINGTON, Texas — The four months Lance Lynn spent with the Twins last season were probably the worst of his career. His walk rate (5.5), WHIP (1.632) and ERA (5.10) were all dreadful and higher than they had ever been before, and his home run rate (1.1) was close. So there likely is a certain amount of curiosity among Twins fans today, to see this completely unfamiliar Lance Lynn — the good one.
The veteran righthander, traded away at the deadline last summer and signed by Texas as a free agent last winter, didn’t make the All-Star team, but he could have. He has 14 wins, or twice as many as he had with the Twins, and his ERA has melted down to 3.54 this year. He throws fewer than half as many walks (2.3) as he did as a Twin, and his strikeout rate (10.4) is higher than it’s been since his rookie season.
“He’s been one of the better pitchers in all of baseball this year. Our hitters certainly know that,” Twins manager Rocco Baldelli said. “We know what he’s going to attack with, and we’re going to line up our approach to combat that.”
Coincidentally, the Twins will counter with an ex-Ranger who, like Lynn, has resurrected his career by moving on. Martin Perez, who has made 68 starts in Globe Life Park, will make his final one today against his former teammates.
If Perez wins, the Twins will do something they’ve never done before: Sweep a four-game series in Texas. In fact, other than a brief two-game stop here in 1998, the Twins have never swept a series in this ballpark (their last three-game sweep here was in 1976 in old Arlington Stadium), so it would be a nice way for them to bid the place good-bye. Globe Life Park will be replaced by Globe Life Field, being built right across the street, next spring.
Here are the lineups for today’s 2:05 p.m. finale in the 95-degree Texas sunshine: