Yes, Lance Lynn is a bulldog. Yes, he has an incredible streak going of thirty games in a row with 100 pitches or more. Yes, he goes deep into games and hates being taken out. Yes, he is cut from the old-school cloth.
But, with all due respect to Lance Lynn, he’s no Ray Caldwell.
Exactly one hundred one years before Lance Lynn’s domination over the Athletics last night, Ray Caldwell had an equally dominating start against the Athletics. Caldwell was cruising. His Indians team was winning 2-1 headed into the top of the ninth inning.
It was his first game as an Indian after being traded from the Red Sox because he was a horrible drunk. But he was a wonderful pitcher. And he wanted to make an impression on his new teammates.
Eight innings of four-hit ball would certainly do the trick of winning them over most times. But, as his teammates were about to find out, that was nothing compared to what happened next.
He had retired the first Athletics batter in the top of the ninth.
Then the second.
Then, all hell broke loose, literally.
As Caldwell was winding up to pitch to the third batter in the ninth, and what he hoped was the final batter of the game, a bolt of lightning shot out of the ominous Cleveland sky and struck him. It didn’t just knock him off the mound, it knocked him out. Cold.
He laid on the ground motionless. His teammates thought he was dead.
After a few minutes of lying flat on his back, Caldwell, surprisingly, stood up. He took stock of himself. He had burns on his chest. He had tingling in his legs.
But, more importantly, he had one more out to get.
No self-respecting pitcher would come out of a game. And certainly not let a little something like being struck by lightning get in the way.
He refused his manager’s suggestion to come out. He picked up the ball, pitched to the final batter, and got him to ground out to third for the complete game 2-1 victory. Minutes after being struck by lightning.
Lance Lynn is tough. But we will never know if he is Ray Caldwell tough.
Because the Rangers now have a roof.
Sean Manaea (1-2, 6.39) vs. Kyle Gibson (1-2, 4.73)