Wednesday, August 19, 2009

The PG Beat: Zito and the Giants bullpen deal in win, but offense still impotent

Man, it's times like this you wonder if Barry Zito ever regrets signing with San Francisco. His first two years, he was the poster child of overpaid pitchers in the Major Leagues. He was widely criticized for the massive contract he signed in 2007 and not living up to the hype, even though at his age and at that point in his career, it was really a lose-lose situation (And in my opinion, Aaron Harang has been a far worse overpaid pitcher than Zito in the last two years). If he wins the Cy Young, then well, he should be doing that because he's getting paid $126 million dollars. Anything less, and he's not earning his money and he's a bust.

Seriously, the guy has gotten so much grief (from me included, even though I'm not proud of it) that you just feel the guy has had enough. He isn't the one that offered that crazy contract, so all those baseball fans should be criticizing Sabean for that ludicrous amount and not Zito. Still though...people, some Giants fans included, have failed to get that memo and continue to bash Zito even though it is a ridiculously dumb argument.

And if things couldn't get any worse for Barry Zito, even when he pitches perhaps one of his best games of the year, not only does he get pulled out at the end of the sixth, but his team gives him zero run support. And literally, ZERO run support. They didn't score a freaking run off Bronson Arroyo until the eighth, freaking inning, two innings after Zito was forced to take off his batting helmet for Fred Lewis.

What do the Giants need to do to get some run support for Zito? Do they need to kill a live chicken before the game? Does Zito need to treat his lineup out on to dinner like Steve Young would for his offensive line after a big win? Does he need to pay for a prostitute for every player in the lineup that night whenever they are on a road trip?

This really is getting depressing for the guy. Zito has, in my mind, been our most consistent pitcher this second half. Yep, I said it. Not Lincecum, not Cain, certainly not Sanchez, but Zito. And yet, you would never know it because the guy can't get a decisison to save his life from his lineup.

Granted, it could have been worse. If anything, the Giants were in position to lose this game more than anything. No Panda in the lineup. No Sanchez either. Bengie and Eugenio go 0-for-8 combined (though Velez hit some pretty good balls), and Renteria is in the two spot (never a good sign ever). Yet the Giants caught a break when Reds first baseman Joey Votto had to leave the game due to blurred vision, so all we had to worry about was Brandon Phillips and Wladimir Balentein in the lineup.

The funny thing though about this 1-0 win over the Reds was that the Giants hitting wasn't all that bad, but they couldn't drive in any runs...again. I mean, this Giants offense is as potent as Hank Hill is with his narrow urethra. They get a lot of hits, but they just shoot blanks time and time again.

Look at the stat line for chrissake! 10 hits, five guys with multi-hit performances (Renteria, Schierholtz, Garko, Rowand and Uribe all had two hits) and still...one run. And not until the eighth inning either. Man, I don't know what the Giants have to do. I don't know if it's bad baserunning, or lack of execution with ducks on the pond or what, but seriously...you should have more runs than one when you get 10 hits in a ball game. It just doesn't statistically make sense.

Nevertheless, despite my never-ending frustration with this Giants offense, I am happy that at the very least, we took the series from the Reds in Cincy. The Giants needed this one. Colorado is on kill-pace against the Nationals and the G-men simply couldn't afford to drop another series to the Reds out of all teams. On another note, the bullpen really is looking great. They have absolutely dialed in on the mound in their past three performances. Wilson is looking really confident on the hill, and Romo is starting to look like his first-half self, rather than a second-half, Tyler Walker look-alike. Even though we have one game to go, and I want the Giants to go for the kill and get the sweep (and get win no. 13 for Cain. Jeez, has he waited long enough for it?), I am feeling really confident for Colorado. The Giants have a different kind of mojo going into Colorado now that they didn't have when they went into Colorado the first time or against Los Angeles last week (due to the fact they were coming off losing the previous series before each of those three-game sets against the Rockies and Dodgers).

I'm telling you, even though the offense has been inconsistent, and you really can't judge the Giants too concretely by this recent series alone (The Reds are simply awful), Colorado better be ready. I know they're riding high after beating us the last time around, but this will be a different Giants team that I think will be confident and rejuvenated the second time around.


Postgame box notes:

Winning pitcher: Sergio Romo (4-2) 1.2 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 3 SO.
Losing pitcher: Bronson Arroyo (11-12) 8 IP, 9 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 1 BB, 5 SO.

Giants standouts: Edgar Renteria, 2-for-4. Nate Schierholtz, 2-for-4, 2 2B (15). Ryan Garko, 2-for-4. Aaron Rowand, 2-for-4. Juan Uribe, 2-for-3, 2B (19).
Reds standouts: Daniel Stubbs, 2B (1). Great American Ballpark's empty seats.

Probable starters for next game: Cain (12-4) vs. Harang (6-14).

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