Well, that was a very Barry Zito-like outing.
While Zito has had some good moments this spring, Sunday’s game against the White Sox was not one of them.
Zito gave up five runs (all earned) on nine hits and two walks in 2 1/3 innings.
“The ball was up in the zone,” Zito said. “I’ve been harping on getting the ball dow, throwing in a downhill plane. Today I was just rushing my body and the arm couldn’t catch up. Downhill plane is everything.”
Well, Giants fans know all to well about Zito and his downhill plane.
Zito’s outing is worth a second look (perhaps not for those with weak stomachs).
It started well enough, with Alejandro De Aza striking out. But then came a double to Brent Lillibridge, a walk to Adam Dunn and an RBI single by Paul Kornerko. However, Dunn helped the Giants out by trying to take third on the play and was thrown out by Melky Cabrera.
Then came another walk to AJ Pierzynski. A single to Alex Rios loaded the bases. Then Zito got out of the mess by striking out Dayan Viciedo.
So the first inning line was 1 run on three hits and two walks.
Gordon Beckham opened the second with a double and took third on a single by Eduardo Escobar to open the second. De Aza bunted Beckham home for the second run of the game and first out of the inning. Lillibridge grounded out and Dunn struck out.
Konerko opened the third with a single, then Pierzynksi homered to left. Rios made it back-to-back by homering to left. Viciedo grounded out, but Beckham’s double to left brought the hook for Zito.
Zito threw 60 pitches in the game, then threw another 25 in the bullpen after getting pulled.
“Just give us a chance to win,” manager Bruce Bochy said of the expectations of Zito this season. “He got knocked out today. That’s what we want to stay away from. He never got settled in. Every inning was a struggle for him. If (Cabrera) didn’t make that play in the first inning, I don’t think he gets out of that inning.”
Despite seeing his spring ERA jumping from 4.50 to 6.61, Zito is in no danger of losing his spot in the rotation.
“He was out of sync,” Bochy said. “He couldn’t get the ball where he wanted. He just didn’t have it today. You don’t like to see it when you get this close to the season, but it’s going to happen, and better now than during the season.”
Charting Zito starts this spring, his next start should come Friday against the Padres, then April 4 at AT&T Park against the A’s in the preseason finale. That would align him to make his first start of the season on April 9 at Colorado, assuming Ryan Vogelsong starts the season on the DL.
A late-spring road game meant most regulars did not play against the White Sox. And the ones that did, didn’t do much (Gregor Blanco 0 for 3, Nate Schierholtz 0 for 3, Melky Cabrera 0 for 2 with a walk, Brett Pill 0 for 4).
Ryan Vogelsong will get the start and aim to make 40 pitches as the Giants face the Royals at 1:05 p.m. Monday.