Tuesday was a good day in the desert. It doesn’t matter that it’s just spring training. Any day the Giants beat the Dodgers is a good day.
And it was a good day for Barry Zito, despite what many skeptical Giants fans might think.
Fans may frown at Zito’s line on Tuesday: two runs on four hits in two-plus innings. But the bigger numbers are 28 strikes in 35 pitches.
“He was right around the (strike) zone, and that’s what he has to do — be aggressive early in the count,” catcher Eli Whiteside said.
The Dodgers did not hit the ball out of the infield in the first inning, which included an infield single and two strikeouts to end the inning. Andre Ethier hit a home run to open the second. There was also a walk, single, sacrifice and run-scoring groundout in the second.
Zito was clocked at pitching 81-83 mph, which surprised both Zito and Whiteside. Zito has been working with a new windup design to give his fastball more life. The pitcher told reporters he had been clocked throwing in the upper 80s in January.
However, the scouts’ radar guns were subject to question. They clocked hard-throwing Heath Hembree at 91-93 in the ninth, when Hembree has been clocked at near triple digits this spring.
As Giants fans are aware, bad starts usually develop in two ways for Zito. One comes when he can’t find the strike zone and big innings are fueled by walks. The other comes when he’s too much in the strike zone and gets lit up.
So for Zito to be in the strike zone and to get people out is a good early sign.
“I thought Barry looked great; Terrific job,” manager Bruce Bochy said. “He should feel good about that outing.”
- Melky Cabrera went 2 for 4 with two solo home runs, one from the right side and one from the left side. “I don’t care if it’s Spring Training. That’s impressive,” Bochy said. Cabrera is hitting .455
- Brett Pill, fighting for a job at first base, kept swinging a hot bat, going 2 for 4 with a two-run home run. He’s hitting. 462.
- A couple of player who need to show they can hit in the bigs continue to hit well. Emmanuel Burris went 2 for 4 with two runs. He’s hitting .444. And SS Brandon Crawford went 1 for 2 with a walk. He’s hitting .571.
- Nate Schierholtz went 2 for 4 with an RBI and a stolen base, a part of his game he’s looking to improve upon this spring.
- Two key prospects got into the game. OF Gary Brown went 1 for 2, but was erased trying to steal second. 2B Joe Panik went 2 for 2 with a triple.
Tim Lincecum will make his second spring start when the Giants face the Rockies in Scottsdale at 12:05 p.m. PDT.