It’s time to start worrying, Giants fans. Barry Zito may have hit a new low.
And for Zito, that’s saying something.
The San Diego Padres thumped the Giants pitcher for five runs on seven hits (five extra-base hits) and three walks in three innings.
And it took Zito 69 pitches to get through those three innings. He threw only 34 strikes.
Here’s how his outing went.
- Cameron Maybin walked, then picked off first base
- Orlando Hudson walked
- Chase Headley lines out to right
- Jesus Guzman doubles to left, Hudson scores
- Nick Hundley doubles to left, Guzman scores
- Kyle Blanks singles to left, Hundley scores
- Chris Denorfria flies to right
- Everth Cabrera singles to right
- Dustin Moseley sacrifices Cabrera to 2nd
- Maybin grounds to short
- Hudson flies to center
- Headley grounds out to 2nd
- Guzman walks
- Hundley doubles to center, Guzman scores, Hundley out trying to advance to 3rd
- Blanks doubles to left
- Denorfria triples to center, Blanks scores
- Cabrera grounds out to first
Zito recorded nine outs, but two were recorded on the basepaths and a third was recorded on a sacrifice (on a 3-0 pitch to the pitcher, thank you very much).
Zito finished Cactus League play allowing 15 earned runs in 19 1/3 innings. And his last two starts were his worst — 10 runs in 5 1/3 innings.
Zito has been battling himself and his new pitching mechanics all spring. And now, with the season looming, he’s looking to make more adjustments.
“It’s not ‘Scrap the whole thing,’ ” Zito said after Friday’s debacle. “It’s just make a small adjustment. … It’s about starting tomorrow morning with (pitching coach Dave Righetti), finding out what the adjustment is and go with it.”
Everything Zito threw was up in the zone. And when it’s up and coming in at 74-82 mph, it’s going to get clubbed.
“It’s funny how when everything is up, it seems everything is off-kilter,” Zito added. “But it’s one click.”
Sounds more like a cha-ching to us, like $19 million this season, $20 million next season, then a $7 million buyout in 2014. And that’s not funny at all.
Zito has just one more preseason start coming, next Wednesday at AT&T Park against the A’s — and two more bullpen sessions — before the start of the season.
So unless Zito develops some kind of ailment like bicep tendinitis (that’s what Jonathan Sanchez had when he stunk it up last season) or some other ailment, it looks as if he’ll be on the mound on April 9 at Colorado for his 2012 debut.
And by the looks of things, it won’t be pretty.
First, we heard it was going to be last Wednesday.
Then, no, it was Friday.
Then possibly on Saturday.
And now it’s Monday, the Giants have a day off, and we still don’t know when second baseman Freddy Sanchez will play his first game in the field.
It won’t be Tuesday. Wednesday?
Bochy said Sanchez was still throwing tentatively during his last full-speed infield drill last week, and the manager wants to see him game-ready in practice before putting him into a game.
“Once he takes a good infield and feels like he can play in a game, we’ll put him out there,” Bochy said. “But not until then.”
Sanchez could take infield practice on Tuesday or Wednesday, then take a day off, and could be ready to play the next day. But the uncertainty has led Bochy to admit that his second baseman could open the season on the DL.
“We’re down to two weeks, and he hasn’t gotten out there yet,” Bochy said. “We’re still optimistic that we’ll get him out there, but each day that goes by the possibility grows a little bit that he’s not going to be ready.”
Mike Fontenot, Ryan Theriot and Emmanuel Burriss are battling for backup infield jobs. It figures that only two will make the team. Henry Schulman of the SF Chronicle said Theriot has not looked good in the field or at the plate this spring. Theriot is hitting .200 (6 for 30).
The Giants covet Theriot for his experience, his right-hand bat and his ability to hit lefties. But they have also starting give shortstop Brandon Crawford more opportunities this spring against lefties. Crawford hit his first spring home run off a lefty, the Mariners’ Hong-Chih Kuo.
“Any home run feels good,” Crawford said. “That is came off a lefty, it probably feels better.”
Burriss went 2 for 2 with a triple and a walk Sunday, raising his spring average to .441 (15 for 34). He also has five steals.
If Sanchez opens on the DL, all three infielders should make the team. Another option is to put Ryan Vogelsong on the DL to open the season, activating him on April 15 when the Giants first need a No. 5 starter.
Then, the Giants could open the season with 11 pitchers, allowing them to keep an additional position player on the roster at least for the first nine days of the season.
- Brandon Belt had a double in three at-bats, leaving his spring average as .368 as Aubrey Huff sat out with a sore back.
- Madison Bumgarner looked ready for the season, giving up four hits and no walks in five scoreless innings. He wanted to pitch into the six, but Sunday’s less-than-ideal conditions led Bochy to have MadBum finish his day with 20 pitches in the bullpen.
- Clay Hensley gave up three rusn on three hits in one inning, although two runs were unearned.
The Giants will keep their rotation intact by having Matt Cain throw a minor-league game Monday. Barry Zito will get the start Tuesday against the Diamondbacks at 1:10 p.m.
With all the talk about Madison Bumgarner throwing in the No. 2 spot in the rotation in spring — and the possibility of him doing the same during the season — Bumgarner has gone out this spring and show that he’s capable of filling the role.
Bumgarner pitched three scoreless innings, giving up two hits and a walk while striking out five as the Giants improved their spring record to 4-2 with a 5-2 win over the Padres.
“My command feels pretty good,” Bumgarner said. “Everything seems to be on schedule. It’s better than usual. I’m just trying to focus as if it’s the regular season.”
At least for MadBum, too bad it isn’t. He’s been great.
- OF Gregor Blanco, a non-roster invitee, is giving the Giants reason to consider keeping him on the roster, going 2 for 3 with a walk, two runs scored and a stolen base. After a slow start, he’s hitting .429 this spring.
- RP Clay Hensley pitched a 1-2-3 seventh inning with one strikeout in his first spring outing. Hensley is the leading candidate to lock down the final spot in the bullpen. He’s been limited this spring by a strained hamstring.
- The Padres scored both of their runs on a pair of solo home runs in the fourth inning off reliever Andrew Kown.
- Four relievers (Jeremy Affeldt, Clay Hensley, Sergio Romo and Dan Otero) set down the final 12 Padres in order. Only one ball left the infield, and four batters struck out.
Matt Cain makes his second spring start as the Giants face the Reds in Scottsdale at 12:05 p.m. PST. Buster Posey and Freddy Sanchez are expected to make their spring debuts.
Sorry, it’s Spring Break and MoreSplashHits was away from the computer since our last post. Just as well as there wasn’t much good news to report.
The schedule makers really didn’t like the Giants when they made out the 2011 schedule.
First, they only schedule nine of the Giants’ first 31 games at home and only 15 of their first 44.
Then, they didn’t have the World Series champions open at home (I know, the schedules are put together like a year ago, but it’s still annoying).
Then, they go and have the Giants open at LA and San Diego. Couldn’t have picked a nice road trip to Phoenix and Denver? Trips to Southern California in April have not gone well for the Giants.
Counting this season’s 1-4 road trip (so far), the Giants are 2-15 in April in games at Los Angeles and San Diego over the past three years.
Remember, the Giants had a 1-5 road trip to SoCal in April last season and still went on to win the World Series. This road trip is a bit more annoying because it’s to open the series.
So if the Giants can scramble and get a win Wednesday with Tim Lincecum on the mound, a 2-4 road trip might sound just fine. Compared to last season, the Giants will be one game ahead of last season.
Another spring day, another win for the Giants.
The Giants improved to 12-4 on the spring as Tim Lincecum gave up just one earned run in four innings of work.
Lincecum gave up three runs on four hits, but only one run was earned.
It’s a good news/bad news situation. The Giants committed four errors in the game with Pablo Sandoval getting charged for two.
However, one of those Panda errors was debatable. In the third, Sandoval made a double-saving stop of a liner to third. But his throw to first was in the dirt and Brandon Belt couldn’t dig it out. The Padres PR guy was the game’s official scorer, and he charge Sandoval with an error. As the Mercury-News’s Andrew Baggarly tweeted: “Someone is still bitter about 2010.”
If the play is ruled a hit, then Lincecum would have been charged with two earned runs.
So there’s good and bad.
One indisputable good thing out Friday’s game was that the Giants tagged Padres’ starter Mat Latos with four runs in the first inning. Any time you can shut up Latos — even in spring — it’s a good day.
AARON ROWAND: Batting leadoff again (UGH!), Rowand reached base all three times he came to the plate, going 2 for 2 with one HBP.
PABLO SANDOVAL: The Panda had a single, run and RBI in four ABs.
BRANDON BELT: Belt was 2 for 4 with a double, run and RBI.
San Diego Padres pitcher Mat Latos is causing problems again with a baseball.
A San Diego-area sports memorabilia store advertised three balls with Latos’ signature and the words “I hate SF” inscribed on them. The balls sold for $1,100 with half going to the MLB Alumni Association, according to the Associated Press.
Latos said it was a playful jab toward the Giants and only intended to raise money for charity.
“I did it all in fun,” he said. “No disrespect to them.”
You may remember last May, when Latos taunted some fans during batting practice at AT&T Park by throwing a ball over the left-field bleachers and out of the stadium. The ball ended up landing in parking lot behind the stadium and smashing a sun roof on a car owned by Giants announcer Dave Flemming. Latos later apologized and offered to pay the $1,200 damage to Flemming’s car.
And now this.
Well, we all enjoy a little joke. And we can understand Latos’ animosity, feigned or not.
The Giants eliminated the Padres from the postseason on the final day of the season in 2010, and Latos was on the mound that day for San Diego. Latos also set a major-league record last season with 15 consecutive starts in which he threw at least five innings and gave up two earned runs or fewer from June 10 to Sept. 7.
When did that streak end? On Sept. 12, when the Giants tagged Latos for five runs in four innings.
So it makes sense for Latos to write “I hate SF” on those balls.
But if Latos decides to something like that again, we only ask that he do it right, by writing “I hate SF, WSC.”
Don’t know what “WSC” stands for, Mat? Just think back to Nov. 1 of last season and it may come to you.
Padres 1, Giants 0
LP: Sanchez (1-1)
Record: 8-6, 1st in NL West, tied with San Diego
There’s just other way to put it, without engaging in a little French.
Or a lot of French.
The Giants’ inability to show any kind of plate discipline, or any time of clutch hitting reached an all-time low on Tuesday night in San Diego.
Jonathan Sanchez pitched his best game of the short season, maybe his best performance since last year’s no-hitter. He pitched seven innings, struck out 10 and gave up just one hit …. and lost.
Are you ready for the “highlights” from Tuesday’s fiasco?
- In five of the nine innings, the Giants put the leadoff runner on base. And failed to score.
- In four other innings, the Giants went down 1-2-3.
- In the first, Eugenio Velez led off the game with a walk (the second time in four days he’s done that), but Edgar Renteria hit into a double play. Pablo Sandoval followed with a single.
- In the third, Eli Whiteside led off with a double. Sanchez tried to bunt him to third, but Whiteside was thrown out a third. Velez followed with a single. Then Renteria his into ANOTHER double play.
- In the eighth … the coup de grace! Nate Schierholtz led off with a triple to left-center .. and got stranded there. Whiteside grounded to third; Bengie Molina popped to first; Velez struck out looking.
- In the ninth, Sandoval drew a one-out walk. Andres Torres ran for Sandoval. (That’s how desperate the Giants have become that they were taking out their best hitter for their worst hitter). But the moved looked to pay off with Aubrey Huff singled to center, sending Torres to third. Then Juan Uribe flied to shallow right. Torres did not attempt to score. Not sure why, given how poorly the Giants have performed in the clutch. If he’d gone, he probably would have been thrown out. The throw from right was on target, but high. Who knows? But Torres stayed at third. Then John Bowker struck out to end the game.
And how did the Padres score? Chase Headley had a leadoff single (the Padres only hit) in the fourth. He stole second (it was his third stolen base off Sanchez on the night). Headley took third when Huff made a nice play on a foul pop, but fell into the photographer’s well, sending Headley to third. Scott Hairston plated the run with a deep fly to right.
Can it get much worse than that? Well, we’ll find out Wednesday as the series ends with a 3:30 p.m. game. Do you get that feeling that Wednesday will be the day the starting pitching or the bullpen implodes under the tremendous weight the anemic offense is putting on them?
If there’s good news, it’s that the Giants still are in first place. We can only hope they still are when they leave their offensive black hole known as Petco Park.
Padres 3, Giants 2, 10 innings
LP: Affeldt (2-2)
Giants HR: Uribe (2)
Record: 8-5, 1st in NL West, 1 game ahead of San Diego
Well, Giants fans have seen this before: a one-run loss in San Diego. You’ll remember last May when the Giants were swept by the Padres in San Diego, losing all three games by one run, and in none of the games did the Giants score more than two runs.
And like we’ve seen before, what hurt the Giants was not the inability to get hits. It was the inability to get hits when they needed to get hits.
The Giants managed 10 hits on Monday night, same as the Padres. But when given the opportunity to put a crooked number on the board with a simple single, the Giants couldn’t seem to find one.
In the fourth after the Giants pushed across the tying run, they had the bases loaded and one out. But that rally was killed when Andres Torres grounded into a double play.
Yeah, double play. Like we have seen that before.
Torres continues to get the starts against lefties, even though he’s hitting .111. He went 1 for 4 on Monday. His only hit came when he was actually trying to sacrifice Juan Uribe to second in the seventh inning. But Torres’ bunt slipped past pitcher Clayton Richard and Torres reached on an infield single.
Nate Schierholtz then bunted the runners to second and third. And then the Giants did another thing we’ve seen too much.
Mark DeRosa came into to pinch-hit. All he needed to do was make solid contact. An outfield fly gets the tying run home. An infield grounder also does the job. The Padres were playing back. They didn’t want to play in because that would increase the odds of a single slipping past them and allowing two runs to score.
But DeRosa struck out. To make matters worse, Eugenio Velez followed with another strikeout.
The Giants struck out nine times Monday. They walked once.
The Giants are 1 for 16 with runners in scoring position in the past two games. After early-season success at the plate, the Giants have seemed to regress to the habits that kept them from being a playoff team in 2009. Having Aaron Rowand and Mark DeRosa sideline hasn’t helped matters.
The Giants desperately need to avoid another San Diego sweep. This road trip has started with three losses in four games. Things don’t get any easier when they return home, with six games against the Cardinals and Phillies. They’ll face Adam Wainwright and Roy Halladay.
Those guys are certainly more intimidating than Mat Latos and Jon Garland, the two pitchers the Padres will send out next against the Giants. Neither Latos or Garland are lefties, so maybe we won’t see Torres in the lineup.
Kevin Pucetas, a batle for the No. 5 starting pitching spot, took a hit on Sunday, giving up two runs on four hits and two walks in three innings as the Giants were shut out by former Giant Kevin Correia in a 7-0 loss to the Padres on Sunday.
Indications are that Todd Wellemeyer is about to be named the No. 5 starter. So Sunday’s outing may not have mattered as to Pucetas’ status.
If there was some good news on the mound for the Giants Sunday, it was that Brian Wilson, Jeremy Affeldt and Guillermo Mota each threw scoreless innings late — although Wilson made it a bit exciting by giving up two hits and a walk in his inning of work.
Inside the box score
Aaron Rowand was 1 for 3 with a walk.
Edgar Renteria was 1 for 3.
Pablo Sandoval was 1 for 3.
Aubrey Huff was 1 for 3 with a double.
John Bowker, getting the start in right field, was 1 for 3.
Matt Downs, entering late and playing some 1B, was 2 for 2 with a double.
Buster Posey continued his late-spring slump, going 0 for 2.
Jonathan Sanchez takes to the mound as the Giants (19-9) play the Brewers at 1:05 p.m.
Relievers Guillermo Mota, Denny Bautista and Brandon Medders also pitched well over the first four innings before the Padres jumped on Osiris Matos during a seven-run fifth innings, as the San Diego Padres beat the Giants split-squad 7-1.