Lance Lynn won’t come riding in on a white horse tonight for the Chicago White Sox, but he might as well be. The former Ole Miss star, the White Sox’s most effective starter in 2021, has been out all season with a knee injury. The 35-year-old right-hander gets the ball tonight at Detroit for a scuffling team that needs a rescue. Here’s how a headline in the Chicago Tribune summed up the situation: “It’s up to Lance Lynn to save the Chicago White Sox’s season — and it begins tonight in Detroit.” The White Sox, favorites in the American League Central, are 27-31. They’ve been hit hard by injuries, not the least of which was Lynn’s. He made three rehab starts at Triple-A Charlotte and allowed 10 runs in 10 innings. But the ChiSox need him. Tonight and beyond. Lynn, the 39th overall pick in the MLB draft out of Oxford back in 2008, is 115-77 with a 3.48 career ERA. He won 11 games with a 2.68 last year, when he was a Cy Young Award finalist. He’s a gamer. He’ll give it all he’s got, for sure. But can he save the White Sox’s season? P.S. Chicago’s other team, the rebuilding Cubs, is also struggling at 23-36. They’ll give the ball tonight to young lefty Justin Steele, the former George County High standout who is 1-5, 4.79. He’s had some good moments but not enough of them. And he always seems to draw a tough matchup. Tonight at Wrigley Field, he faces the 37-win San Diego Padres and Yu Darvish.
Regardless of which school you root for, you have to be impressed by what the collective bunch has done in baseball. Ole Miss is going to the College World Series. Nineteen times in the last 66 years, Mississippi has sent one of its NCAA Division I schools to Omaha, with Mississippi State winning it all in 2021 in its 12th visit. It ain’t easy to get to Omaha. The postseason, starting with conference tournaments, is a grinder. Sixty-four teams get into the NCAAs; eight get to Omaha. Five No. 1 seeds didn’t get out of their regional this year. The overall No. 1 seed (Tennessee) just lost in the Super Regional. Southern Miss, a regional host, survived a five-game dogfight to advance but seemingly had nothing left for Ole Miss in the Hattiesburg Super Regional, failing to score a run in two games. So Ole Miss, which barely made the NCAA field after a mercurial regular season, is Omaha-bound as a regional 3-seed. This will be the Rebels’ sixth trip, second under Mike Bianco, the school’s all-time winningest coach who nevertheless has taken a lot of heat for his teams’ postseason shortcomings. But what’s past is past. Bianco’s current club may have caught lightning in a bottle this postseason. They’ve pitched. They’ve hit. They’ve won five straight, practically in a stroll. It figures to get tougher in Omaha, but would you bet against them? It’ll be interesting to see how UM fans turn out at the CWS. MSU fans took over the ballpark last year, playing a large role in the Bulldogs’ success. That first D-I natty was a big deal for the Magnolia State. Another would be no less special.