Pop quiz, hot shot: You’re one of the worst teams in baseball. You are starting a guy with a 6.75 ERA who has walked more dudes than he has struck out. You’re facing the defending AL Central champs with the reigning AL Cy Young Award winner and MVP on the mound. How’s it gonna turn out?
Just fine, thanks: The Royals and Jonathan Sanchez beat Justin Verlander and the Tigers 3-2.
It was tied at two heading into the ninth when Jaoquin Benoit took over for Verlander. After retiring the first man he faced, Benoit gave up a double to Mike Moustakas, who then advanced to third on a groundout. Up came Chris Getz who hit an infield single to short scoring Moustakas. Jonathan Broxton came in to close it out in the ninth.
As the saying goes, you can’t predict baseball. There are no Master Lock: Keys to the Game. Anyone who does the “What [Team X] needs to do to win” thing is wasting time. Baseball just happens. Sometimes the worst beats the best. And it means little, because there’s another game tomorrow.
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.