Barry Zito couldn’t get anyone out in an exhibition season that saw him give up 17 runs and 32 hits in 19 1/3 innings and ditch his experimental windup. The Rockies, though, were frustrated by him all day Monday.
Zito pitched his first shutout since 2003, allowing just four hits and walking none, in a 7-0 victory for the Giants.
Zito’s gem followed up a weekend in which the Giants were swept by the Diamondbacks, with Tim Lincecum, Madison Bumgarner and Matt Cain combining to give up 14 runs in 15 1/3 innings.
Zito completed just two games in his first five years with the Giants. His last shutout came in his fourth or seven years with the A’s. He had four career shutouts before turning into more of a six- and seven-inning pitcher beginning with the 2004 season. He went 3-4 with a 5.87 ERA in nine starts and four relief appearances for San Francisco last year.
The Orioles singlehandedly kept the rumor mill churning this weekend. MLB Network’s Jon Morosi reports that the club is interested in making a play for free agent right-hander Lance Lynn, adding him to a list of potential candidates that also includes free agent righty Alex Cobb. The two are expected to command similar contracts in free agency, but Morosi notes that the Orioles may prefer Cobb based on his familiarity with the AL East.
Lynn, 30, is two years removed from Tommy John surgery on his right elbow. Despite missing the 2016 season, he bounced back with a respectable 11-8 record in 33 starts and complemented his efforts with a 3.43 ERA, 3.8 BB/9 and 7.4 SO/9 over 186 1/3 innings for the 2017 Cardinals. He lost several days with a blister on his pitching hand in early September, but managed to avoid any major injuries and can reasonably be expected to shoulder another heavy workload in 2018.
Lynn may not be the Orioles’ first choice to beef up their starting rotation, but there’s no doubt that he’ll be in high demand as one of very few viable starters on the market this winter. The veteran righty rejected his one-year, $17.4 million qualifying offer from the Cardinals on Thursday and will likely be seeking a multi-year contract, one that Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch estimates around five years and $100+ million. If the Orioles are willing to bite that bullet, they’ll still need to compensate the Cardinals with their third pick in next year’s draft.