On March 30, Barry Zito was lost on the mound, throwing lollipops to San Diego hitters in his second consecutive Cactus League disaster. Ten days later, he threw his first shutout in nine years, flummoxing the Rockies with a melange of perfectly executed pitches.

Pitching coach Dave Righetti cited three factors in Zito's ability to make such a drastic improvement so quickly: the left-hander's experience, being able to try changes that Righetti recommended in a minor-league game and the confidence he built with each zero at Coors Field, starting with an eight-pitch first inning.