The Cardinals had an excellent chance to grab an early lead in the second inning against Barry Zito, but the high-priced southpaw managed to escape unscathed.
After Yadier Molina led off the inning with a single, David Freese dropped a double just beyond the outstretched glove of Hunter Pence, who attempted a diving catch. With runners at second and third and nobody out, Zito struck out Daniel Descalso swinging before issuing an intentional walk to Pete Kozma in order to load the bases for opposing pitcher Lance Lynn. However, Lynn did Zito a pretty big favor by hitting into an inning-ending double play. The Cardinals have stranded three runners in scoring position over the first two innings.
As for Lynn on the mound, he has been pretty impressive thus far, striking out five over three hitless frames. We’re scoreless going into the bottom of the third.
Former Red Sox right-hander Nathan Eovaldi is up for grabs this offseason, and Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe says that as many as nine suitors are interested in bringing the righty aboard. While the Red Sox are eager to retain Eovaldi’s services after his lights-out performance during their recent postseason run, they’ll have to contend with the Brewers, Phillies, Braves, White Sox, Padres, Blue Jays, Giants, and Angels — all of whom are reportedly positioned to offer something for the starter this winter.
It wasn’t all smooth sailing for the 28-year-old in 2018, however. After losing his 2017 season to Tommy John surgery, he underwent an additional procedure to remove loose bodies from his right elbow in March and didn’t make his first appearance until the end of May. He was flipped for lefty reliever Jalen Beeks just prior to the trade deadline and finished his season with a combined 6-7 record in 21 starts, a 3.81 ERA, 1.6 BB/9, and 8.2 SO/9 through 111 innings.
Despite his numerous health issues over the last few years, Eovaldi raised his stock in October after becoming a major contributor during the Red Sox’ championship run. He contributed two quality starts in the ALDS and ALCS and returned in Games 1-3 of the World Series with three lights-out performances in relief — including a six-inning effort in the 18-inning marathon that was Game 3.
A frontrunner has yet to emerge for the righty this offseason, but Cafardo points out that the nine teams listed so far might just be the tip of the iceberg. Still, he won’t be the most sought-after starter on the market, as former Diamondbacks southpaw Patrick Corbin is expected to command an even bigger payday following his career-best 6.0-fWAR performance in 2018.