Results tagged ‘ Barry Zito ’
Seven innings, zero runs. Sound familiar?
Well, of course, that’s what Barry Zito did in his first start this season at AT&T Park.
And in his second.
And in his third.
You know how they post Ks on the right-field wall at AT&T Park for strikeouts by Giants pitchers. Well, maybe when Barry Zito pitches at AT&T, they should post zeros instead.
Zito improved his string of scoreless innings at home to 21 innings this season with another shutdown performance Sunday in a win over the Padres.
It is also the 10th consecutive Barry Zito start at AT&T Park that the Giants have won, dating back to last postseason and regular season.
Sunday’s outing dropped Zito’s season ERA to 3.42, and it was the second win this season by the Giants that didn’t require a save or a walk-off hit. The other game also was a Zito start.
Who would have thought the day when Zito starts is the day the bullpen gets some rest?
And there was some more good news for the Giants. Buster Posey smacked his first home run since Game 4 of last year’s World Series — and that includes all of spring training — when smacked a two-run shot to left in the fifth inning. It was also the Giants’ first home run this season not hit by a guy named Pence (4), Sandoval (3) or Crawford (3).
- Chad Gaudin pitched the final two innings without giving up a run to lower his ERA to 0.73.
- It was the Giants’ major league-leading fifth shutout win of the season. Three of those wins were games started by Zito.
- It was the Giants’ second consecutive three-game sweep at home.
- The win improved the Giants’ record against NL West foes to 8-1. They’ve won eight in a row since losing the season-opener to the Dodgers.
- Because of his ugly outing in Milwaukee, Zito is averaging just under 6 innings per start this season. At that pace, he would pitch 189.1 innings if he makes 32 starts. Important to note because his $18 million option for 2014 kicks in if he pitches 200 innings this season.
Depending on how you look at numbers, San Francisco Giants starting pitchers are actually making the grade
So when you were in school, did you prefer teachers who graded on letter grades (A, B, C, etc.) or on a strict percentage basis (100%, 90%, etc.)?
I preferred the letter-grade system. Why? Under that system, a failure is a failure. If you bomb a quiz, you regroup and come back next time.
But under the percentage system, there are degrees to failure: 50 percent, 40 percent, 30 percent, etc. If you bomb a quiz under this system, it could take you a long time to recover.
If people use the ERA as way to grade pitchers, the majority of Giants starters are failing. But ERA penalizes degrees of failure, which are very difficult to recover.
If you give up six runs in a game, you’re probably going to lose. So if you give up an seventh run, eighth run or ninth run, those runs generally don’t turn many wins into losses. But they can blow up an ERA.
And it’s easier to blow up an ERA than it is to fix it.
So let’s break down the Giants starters.
First off, we’re going to excuse Madison Bumgarner from this exercise, because’s he’s been the teacher’s pet with his 1.77 ERA. Go out and play, MadBum.
Barry Zito: 4.86 ERA, 9 ER in 16.2 IP
Eight of his nine earned runs came in 2/3 of an inning on Monday. In his other 16 innings, he’s allowed one run or an 0.56 ERA.
Tim Lincecum: 5.63 ERA, 10 ER in 16 IP
Nine of his 10 earned runs came in two innings of work. In his other 14 innings, he’s allowed one run or an 0.63 ERA.
Matt Cain: 5.94 ERA, 11 ER in 16.2 IP
Nine of his 11 earned runs came in 2/3 of an inning against the Cardinals. In his other 16 innings, he’s allowed two runs or 1.13 ERA.
Ryan Vogelsong, 7.15 ERA, 9 ER in 11.1 IP
Seven of his 9 ER came in two innings. In the other 9.1 IP, he’s allowed two runs or 2.00 ERA.
Even if you looked at the team’s ERA, which includes the bullpen, right now the Giants rank 11th in the NL with a 4.26 ERA.
But if you removed Cain’s nine-run inning and Zito’s eight-run inning, suddenly the Giants’ team ERA is 3.08 or second-best in the NL.
Bottom line, blow-up innings are rare, but damaging to an ERA. They skew the numbers. If you look harder, the Giants pitching is just fine.
Barry Zito said Tuesday: “Baseball’s kind of a strange game.”
Yeah, Barry, we got that.
Zito came into Tuesday’s game against the Brewers have thrown 14 scoreless innings. He left Tuesday’s game with a 4.86 ERA.
The Brewers tagged Zito for nine earned runs in less than three innings of work, including eight runs in third inning alone.
Despite his now-inflated ERA, Zito still has the second-best ERA among Giants starters:
- Madison Bumgarner 1.77
- Barry Zito 4.86
- Tim Lincecum 5.63
- Matt Cain 5.94
- Ryan Vogelsong 7.15
Yikes! And the Giants are 9-5?
The Giants had won 16 consecutive games, including postseason, and 13 in a row in just regular-season games when Zito had started dating back to last August. But that streak is over.
Now the longest streak for Giants wins in games started by a particular pitcher during regular-season games belongs to Tim Lincecum, with four.
Zito said that he actually felt better Tuesday than he had in his previous two starts. And even after he got himself into trouble in the third, you thought it was possible that he might get himself out of the mess.
It all started with a single to the opposing pitcher, Wily Peralta. Then Zito hit Norichika Aoki — on a 1-2 pitch. Jean Segura hit a ball that Brandon Crawford was able to get to, but not able to corral. It went for an infield single and the bases were loaded.
Then Zito struck out Ryan Braun. After falling behind 2-0 to Rickie Weeks, Zito evened the count to 2-2. But Weeks worked the count full, then hooked a pitch right on the left-field line for a two-run double. Jonathan Lucroy’s single made to 5-3.
OK, no problem. The Giants have rallied before. They could do it again.
But Lucroy’s single was followed by one from Alex Gonzalez, and another from Carlos Gomez to load the bases again. Then came the big blow: a grand slam from Yuniesky Betancourt.
The Giants go to Milwaukee and get beat by Yuniesky Betancourt.
Suddenly, it was 9-3 Brewers in the third.
And yet, the Giants weren’t out of it. So much so, that they would actually wind up regretting some missed opportunities.
Brandon Crawford’s home run in the fourth made it 9-4.
A Pablo Sandoval single in the fifth made it 9-5. The Giants loaded the bases with no outs, but could only add one more run on Brandon Belt’s sacrifice fly, even though it looked for a moment that the ball might sail over Braun’s head for a bases-clearing double. Instead, it was just 9-6 Brewers.
The Giants loaded the bases again in the sixth, this time with one out. But again, only got one run on a Sandoval sacrifice fly, cutting the deficit to 9-7.
That’s the closest the Giants could get.
Now they find themselves 9-5 overall, and a half-game behind the Colorado Rockies in the NL West.
The Rockies are now 10-4: 0-3 vs. the Giants and 10-1 against anyone but the Giants (actually it’s just the Pirates, Padres and Mets).
Yeah, it’s a strange game.
Six months later, and the St. Louis Cardinals are still looking to score a run at AT&T Park … or against Barry Zito.
After being shut out in Game 7 of the National League Championship Series, the Cardinals have now played 21 consecutive scoreless innings at AT&T Park, thanks to Barry Zito.
Now be honest: How many of you expected Zito to extend the Giants’ run of starting pitchers giving up no earned runs? Probably a similar number of those who thought the streak would last past Tim Lincecum.
But Zito was on again, pitching seven shutout innings, giving up four hits and three walks as the Giants won their home opener over the Cardinals, 1-0.
Here is the extent of the Giants’ offense on Friday.
The Fourth Inning
- Gregor Blanco walks
- Brandon Crawford singles to center
- Zito bunts, but Yadier Molina (of all people) mishandled the ball, and Zito is safe on the error.
- Angel Pagan walks, Blanco scores.
And then, if things weren’t strange enough, the Giants’ best contact hitter — Marco Scutaro — comes up in a contact situation … and strikes out swinging.
As it turned out, that one run is all that Zito and the Giants would need.
Zito continue his mastery of the Redbirds. If you added his seven shutout innings Friday to the 7.2 shutout innings he threw in Game 5 of last season’s NLCS and the two shutout innings on the back end of a quality start in St. Louis on Aug. 7, it makes 16.2 consecutive shutout innings by Zito against the Cardinals.
It also marked the 15th consecutive start — including last postsesaon — that the Giants won a game in which Zito started.
Zito’s start Friday marked the first time since the 1976 Milwaukee Brewers that a team had starting pitchers not allow an earned run in the first four games of the season. The Brewers, by the way, went 66-95 in 1976 in Hank Aaron’s final season.
Here’s another interesting stat: The last time the Giants won a game started by Zito by a 1-0 score came on July 16, 2010, when Zito pitched eight shutout innings on two hits, two walks and 10 strikeouts against the Mets.
And now the Cardinals get Ryan Vogelsong on Saturday.
Six good reasons to like San Francisco Giants’ rotation order of Cain, Bumgarner, Lincecum, Zito and Vogelsong
So you’d think since we were advocating for Ryan Vogelsong to be the opening day starter that we’d be upset with Bruce Bochy’s announced rotation.
Bochy said the rotation will go like this:
- RHP Matt Cain
- LHP Madison Bumgarner
- RHP Tim Lincecum
- LHP Barry Zito
- RHP Ryan Vogelsong
But we don’t have any problem with this rotation, and here are six good reasons why we like this rotation.
NO. 1: Barry Zito earned the right to open the home opener when the Giants will hoist their 2012 World Series flag. It was Zito who saved the season in Game 5 of the NLCS with his gem in the fourth of the six elimination games the Giants faced last fall.
NO. 2: It sets up the right-left-right-left-right format in the rotation.
NO. 3: Putting Lincecum at the No. 3 slot instead of Vogelsong keeps Timmy’s fragile psyche in place. Vogey can handle being the No. 5 better than Lincecum, who has been the No. 1 guy the past four seasons.
NO. 4: The Giants have won the past 14 games started by Zito, and the Giants want to win their home opener.
NO. 5: Last weekend when Cain, Bumgarner and Lincecum started the season opening series in Arizona — not necessarily in that order — and the Giants lost all three games, it was Zito who pitched a shutout in his season debut in Colorado. Pitching in San Francisco will be much easier.
NO. 6: It’s sets up the rotation against the Cardinals exactly as it aligned in Games 5, 6 and 7 of the NLCS: Zito, Vogelsong, Cain.
Pablo Sandoval was the MVP of the 2012 World Series. And that was an easy call.
The Panda hit .500 (8 for 16) with three home runs, four RBI, a double and only two strikeouts. And, of course, he had the three-homer game.
But there were a lot of MVPs in the World Series for the Giants. Here are others:
RHP Tim Lincecum 4.2 IP, 0 hits, 0 runs, one walk, eight strikeouts
RHP Sergio Romo 3 IP, 0 hits, 0 runs, 0 walks, five strikeouts, three saves
LHP Madison Bumgarner 7 IP, 2 hits, 0 runs, 2 walks, 8 strikeouts, 1 win.
RHP Ryan Vogelsong, 5.2 IP, 5 hits, 0 run, 4 walks, 3 strikeouts, 1 win
OF Gregor Blanco, 4-15 (.267), 3B, RBI, three great catches, great relay throw to Marco Scutaro to get Prince Fielder at the plate
C Buster Posey, 4-15 (.267), HR, 3 RBI, caught outstanding series, two shutouts.
LHP Barry Zito, 5.2 IP, 6 hits, 1 run, 1 walk, 3 strikeouts, 1 win, 1-2, RBI
LHP Jeremy Affeldt, 2 IP, 0 hit, 0 run, 1 walk, 4 strikeouts
SS Brandon Crawford, 3-12 (.250), RBI, stolen base, outstanding defensive shortstop
Game 1 of the 2012 World Series featured three Cy Young Award winners, and one of them got rocked.
It wasn’t Barry Zito.
It wasn’t Tim Lincecum.
It was Justin Verlander.
On an amazing night at AT&T Park, Zito had another amazing outing. Zito gave up one run on six hits and one walk in 5 2/3 innings, striking out three.
Zito didn’t want to come out with two outs in the sixth, after throwing 81 pitches.
Eighty-one pitches to get through almost six innings?!?!? From Zito!?!? He needed 76 to get through 2 2/3 in Cincinnati two weeks ago.
But in the past two postseason starts, Zito has been efficient with his pitches. He’s stayed in the strike zone, pitched to contact and trusted his defense.
On Wednesday, they helped him out. Gregor Blanco made two very nice sliding catches on sinking liners off the bat of Miguel Cabrera and Prince Fielder. He got Dmitri Young to hit into a double play with a chop off the plate that was fielded nicely by Buster Posey.
When Zito averages fewer than four pitches per batter faced, good things happen.
In Game 5 of the NLCS, he averaged 3.97 pitches per batter. In Game 1 of the World Series, it was 3.52. In Game 4 of the NLDS vs. the Reds, it was 4.75.
In his final five starts of the regular season (all Zito wins, four of which were quality starts, the other one out from a quality start), Zito averaged 4.15, 3.81, 3.54, 3.78 and 3.88.
And then there was Tim Lincecum, who retired all seven batters he faced in 2 1/3 innings of relief, striking out five of them.
In Lincecum’s one postseason start, he gave up four runs on six hits with three walks and three strikeouts in 4 2/3 innings. In his four postseason relief appearances, he’s given up one run on three hits with one walk and 14 strikeouts in 10 2/3 innings pitched.
“For me, it’s just getting mentally locked in,” Lincecum said. “When I’m starting, I fall off. I start thinking about the wrong things. When I’m in the bullpen, I’m just out there, just thinking about getting outs.”
Clearly, the bullpen is the place for the Freak this October. And Bochy was brilliant to leave him there.
If there was one complaint about Bochy’s usage of Lincecum, it’s that I would have rather seen Lincecum not used in Game 1 to nurse a 6-1 lead when there were only 10 outs to get.
I felt like the Giants could have managed the relief innings Wednesday with the likes of George Kontos, Jeremy Affeldt, Jose Mijares and Santiago Casilla.
I would have felt much better with the Freak in the pen in Game 2, behind the out-of-whack Madison Bumgarner.
After Lincecum had only needed 19 pitches to get four outs, I thought Bochy should have gone to another reliever after the Giants added some insurance runs. But Lincecum came back for the eighth. Apparently Bochy made a commitment not to use Lincecum on back-to-back days, however many pitches he used.
But Bochy’s thought process probably was that it was better to use a committee of 4-5 relievers in the event of another meltdown by MadBum in Game 2, given the day off on Friday, than to use the pen heavy in Game 1.
We’ll see if he’s right.
Or ever better, we won’t have to see … provided that Bumgarner can give the Giants 5 or 6 quality innings. But that’s something we haven’t seen a lot of in the past two months.
Last Friday, prior to Game 5 of the National League championship series, someone asked me if I was confident with Barry Zito on the mound vs. the Cardinals.
I responded that no Giants fan is ever confident with Zito on the mound.
That’s because you just never seem to know which Zito is going to show up: the one who keeps hitters off-balanced or the one who walks in runs.
So to make Giants fans feel better about this Barry Zito vs. Justin Verlander matchup in Game 1 of the World Series, we came up with seven good reasons why you should feel good about Barry Zito.
NO. 1: We’ll start with the obvious one. The Giants have won their last 13 games when Zito has started on the mound.
NO. 2: It’s true that the Giants have won each of Zito’s last 13 starts sometimes in spite of Zito — he has a 3.56 ERA over that stretch. But since Sept. 9, he is 6-0 with a 2.57 ERA.
NO. 3: Against teams that advanced to the postseason this year (Reds, Cardinals, Braves, Rangers and A’s), Zito was 4-2 with a 2.98 ERA in eight starts.
NO. 4: Zito has 2.96 ERA in 9 postseason starts. It would be much less if we took out Zito’s lone postseason start vs. Detroit (in 2006).
NO. 5: The Giants score runs when Zito pitches. After giving Zito 3.7, 3.0 and 3.5 runs of support per start in 2008, 2009 and 2010, the Giants gave Zito 4.8 runs of support in 2012. During the 13 game win streak in Zito starts, the Giants have averaged 6.23 runs.
NO. 6: Zito’s last start against the Tigers in 2011, he gave up no runs on five hits in six innings of work. The Giants won that game 15-3 over Max Scherzer. Brandon Crawford and Pablo Sandoval homered in that game. To put the game into context, Zito opened his season by injuring his ankle in his third start of the season in Arizona. He then missed the next 2.5 months. Actually, he was hurt the next six weeks then he spent nearly a month in Fresno on a rehab stint after Ryan Vogelsong had seized Zito’s spot in the rotation. But the Jonathan Sanchez imploded, so Zito came off the DL. He gave up 2 runs in 7 innings vs. the Cubs, then the start in Detroit, then gave up one run in eight innings vs. the Padres. Then Zito’s season went to heck and he didn’t make another start after July 31.
NO. 7: In Justin Verlander, the Giants are facing a pitcher with an ERA of 0.74 in his three previous postseason starts. In 2010, the Giants faced Texas’ Cliff Lee in Game 1 of the World Series. Coming into that game, Lee had an ERA of 0.75 in his three previous postseason starts that year. The Giants jumped on Lee for 7 runs (6 earned) in 4 2/3 innings en route to an 11-7 win.
Game 1: Cardinals 6, Giants 4
Game 2: Giants 7, Cardinals 1
Game 3: Cardinals 3, Giants 1
Game 4: Cardinals 8, Giants 3
Game 5: Giants 5, Cardinals 0
Game 6: Cardinals (Carpenter) at Giants (Vogelsong), 4:45 p.m. Sunday
Game 7 (if necessary): Cardinals (Lohse) at Giants (Cain), 5:07 p.m. Monday
I didn’t blog after the Giants’ 8-3 loss to the Cardinals on Thursday — not entirely because I was depressed. I was actually busy with other things.
But if I had found the time to blog, this is what I was planning to write.
All hope was not lost, not even with the fact the Giants were behind 3-1 in the National League Championship series, needing once again to win three consecutive games to advance.
And not because Barry Zito was pitching.
Jayson Stark of ESPN said Wednesday that Game 3 was the game the Giants NEEDED to win, because Matt Cain was on the mound. After Cain came the enigmatic Tim Lincecum (he was right about that one) and then the equally puzzling Barry Zito.
But as someone who has blogged about the Giants all season, I kept thinking back to similar feelings I had about upcoming Zito starts this season.
The situation was this: the Giants were coming off a loss — sometimes a couple of losses — and, oh great, now Zito is pitching.
Then Zito turns in a pearl.
Seven of Zito’s 15 wins this season — that’s almost half — have come on days that followed a Giants’ loss.
It started with his first win of the season way back on April 9. You remember? Zito was gawd-awful in the spring, stayed in Arizona to “work on some things,” the Giants drop their first three games to the Diamondbacks, then they get Zito pitching in Colorado.
And what did he do? He pitched a shutout, being the Rockies 8-0.
He would do it six more times following a Giants’ loss, including two more when he didn’t allow the opponent to score:
- June 25 vs. Dodgers, Giants win 8-0
- July 6 at Pirates, Giants win 6-5
- August 7 at Cardinals, Giants win 4-2
- September 9 vs. Dodgers, Giants win 4-0
- October 2 at Dodgers, Giants win 4-3
Well, Zito did it again on Friday, when the stakes were far higher than they had ever been previously.
He held the Cardinals to no runs on six hits and one walk (which was an intentional walk) while striking out six in 7 2/3 innings, sending the Giants back to San Francisco with the hopes of a pennant still alive.
“I couldn’t be happier for him,” manager Bruce Bochy said. “I don’t know how many times we needed to win this year, he found a way to get it done for us.”
Afterwards, Zito knew what the victory meant to him and his team.
“This is definitely it for me,” Zito said. “Coming here, really doing it in a Giants uniform. A lot of people were saying stuff about my A’s days. And for me, the most important thing is doing everything for San Francisco right now.”
And as they have so often this season, the Giants did something for Zito. They got him some runs.
For the second time in this NLCS, the Giants went hitless against Cardinals’ starter Lance Lynn the first time through the lineup.
And for the second time in this NLCS, they jumped on him for a four-run fourth inning.
Marco Scutaro and Pablo Sandoval opened the inning with singles before Buster Posey struck out. Hunter Pence hit a high chopper back to Lynn, who fielded the ball, spun and threw to second. But the ball was low, shortstop Pete Kozma was late in covering, and the ball bounced off the bag and into the outfield, allowing Scutaro to score the game’s first run.
After Brandon Belt popped out — failing to get a runner home from third with less than two out — Gregor Blanco walked. Then Brandon Crawford delivered in the clutch again, as he has before this postseason, smacking a single up the middle to score Sandoval and Pence.
Then Zito made the offensive play of the night for the Giants. After falling behind in the count, he saw David Freese playing deep at third and punched a bunt up the third base line, then hustling down to first for an infield single that scored Blanco with the fourth run.
The play stunned the Cardinals, and even some Giants, too.
“Shocked,” third-base coach Tim Flannery said. “We work on it. We talk about it. But he did that all on his own. It was beautiful – brilliant.”
Said Blanco: “I was thinking, maybe, ball in the dirt, I’ve got to be ready. But I wasn’t expecting that. It was awesome, unbelievable. That’s what I told him: ‘Awesome! Awesome! You’ve got to do it again!’ ”
It wasn’t all Zito after that. Pablo Sandoval added another home run, and the Giants’ defense behind Zito was superb.
But the bottom line is that for the 13th consecutive game that Zito has started, the Giants came away winners.
Incredible. Amazing. Unbelievable.
Now the Giants return home where they will throw Ryan Vogelsong in Game 6, and hopefully Matt Cain in Game 7.
And here’s another amazing thought. If the Giants can pull off another comeback and advance to the World Series, who do you think might get the call at AT&T Park next Wednesday against the Tigers?
Could it be Barry Zito?
Oh, and the last time Zito faced the Tigers, he delivered his only scoreless start of the 2011 season, pitching six scoreless in Detroit on July 2, 2011.
And the Giants scored runs for him, winning 15-3.