The box score will say Barry Zito had a quality start with three earned runs in 6 innings pitch.
But anyone who watched the Giants’ loss to the Dodgers know Zito deserved better.
Granted, Zito did spend some time dodging bullets in the early innings. But as he’s managed to do well this season, he was working his way out of trouble, instead of into big innings.
But Zito needed some help from his defense Tuesday, and did not get it.
In the third inning, Mark Ellis hit a one-out double to left. Zito walked Matt Kemp intentionally, and then Andre Ethier unintentionally (after starting him off 0-2 in typical Zito fashion).
But Zito looked like he’d get out of the inning when Juan Rivera hit a grounder right at Ryan Theriot. But instead of turning an inning-ending double play, Theriot bobbled the ball, and only got the out at first, allowing Ellis to score the game’s first run.
After the Giants tied the game in the top of the sixth, the defense helped give the lead back.
With one out, Bobby Abreu hit a slow chopper to third. A good third baseman like Pablo Sandoval makes the play and throws Abreu out. A weak-throwing third baseman like Conor Gillaspie does not. Abreu gets an infield hit.
After Jose Uribe walked, A.J. Ellis hit a bloop double to right that scored Abreu.
Then Tony Gwynn Jr. tried a safety squeeze that was too hard to Gillaspie to allow Uribe to score. But Gillaspie’s throw to first was off-line, and Uribe did score. Actually, Theriot was backing up the throw, but he failed to catch the ball cleanly. If he does, Uribe holds at third.
The Dodgers added another run in the seventh on a throwing error by pitcher Steve Edlefsen when he made the poor decision to try to throw out Matt Kemp at third, instead of getting the sure out at first.
An error by Buster Posey on a sacrifice bunt and Gillaspie’s inability to prevent a bunt single by Dee Gordon in the eighth set a five-run inning in motion.
Manager Bruce Bochy said the Giants defense “looked like we skipped spring training.” He and his staff even discussed putting the best defensive team on the field Wednesday — righty-lefty matchups be damned.
Well, it couldn’t hurt, especially with the way the Giants hitters are performing.
But here’s an interesting note about Clayton Kershaw.
Teams this year have stacked their lineups with righties against the left-handed Kershaw. Righties have 124 plate appearances in six games against Kershaw this year, compared to 24 by lefties.
Yet, righties are still hitting just .175 against him, while lefties are hitting .304.
The strikeout rate is much high among lefties (.360 to .202). But of the four home runs Kershaw has allowed this season, three have come from lefties.
Hey, it’s worth a shot. So if Bochy is honest about putting his best defensive team on the field Wednesday, this is how is should look.
- RF Gregor Blanco (I would rather put him in CF, but that won’t happen)
- 3B Joaquin Blanco
- LF Melky Cabrera
- C Buster Posey
- CF Angel Pagan
- 1B Brandon Belt
- 2B Emmanuel Burriss
- SS Brandon Crawford
- P Ryan Vogelsong
Ryan Vogelsong takes the mound against Kershaw at 7:10 p.m. The game will be carried live by the MLB Network, if you dare to watch.