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.
At the start of Wednesday’s spring training game between the Giants and White Sox, the White Sox announcers noted that because the Giants had played a night game on Tuesday, Wednesday’s lineup was filled with players who would either be on the bench or in Fresno on opening day.
And that should help the White Sox get a win, given that manager Ozzie Guillen was throwing out a lineup that was filled with opening-day regulars.
It was a nice theory, but ….
In the end, the Giants improved to 16-5 on the spring with a 5-3 win over the Pale Hose.
To make matters worse for the White Sox, most of the damage was done by the bottom of the lineup as the No. 6-9 hitters delivered 10 of the Giants’ 15 hits.
Leading the way was first baseman Brandon Belt, who had a single, double and two-run home run in four at-bats. Nate Schierholtz continued his push to make the big club by going 3 for 5 (all singles) and improving his spring average to .342.
The lone lock for an opening day start in Wednesday lineup was on the mound. Tim Lincecum threw 75 pitches, giving up one run on three hits and three walks in 5 1/3 innings. He struck out seven.
So, it’s hard to say.
Did Bruce Jenkins’ column motivate Barry Zito?
Has Zito’s spring outings make Jenkins look foolish?
Or is neither above statement true?
Whatever the truth is, MoreSplashHits likes the results.
For a second straight spring outing since Jenkins wrote that Zito’s status with the Giants was on thin ice, the lefty has shined.
In the Giants’ 4-2 win over the White Sox on Wednesday, Zito pitched five scoreless innings, allowing just one hit and one walk. He struck out one. His spring ERA is 2.79.
“Fastball, change-up for the most part,” Zito told the AP of his outing. “I felt significantly better than I’ve felt on the mound during spring training. Things were just smooth. When things are quiet and moving slowly, that’s where success lies.”
Well, Barry, keep things quiet and slow!
Zito was so efficient Wednesday that he didn’t even hit his pitch limit. He came out after five innings because the Giants wanted to get other pitches work. Zito finished his day with 10 pitches in the bullpen.
But again, it’s only March 9. So none of this really matters.But we’re encouraged.
ANDRES TORRES: Torres was 1 for 3 with a double, run scored and RBI.
AUBREY HUFF: Huff-Daddy went 2 for 3 with a home run and two RBI.
BRIAN WILSON: The Beard produced another scoreless inning, although this one was a big dicey. After opening the inning with a strikeout, Wilson gave up back-to-back singles, the second coming on an infield single to SS by Juan Pierre. Buster Posey helped Wilson by throwing out Lastings Milledge trying to steal third. After a walk, Wilson struck out Adam Dunn to end the inning.
JEFF SUPPAN: Suppan pushed his spring scoreless inning streak to eight with two more scoreless innings. Then he gave up back-to-back solo home runs in the ninth before retiring the side.
BUSTER POSEY: Posey went 1 for 2 with a walk and an RBI. His spring average plummeted to .526.
Matt Cain had a dominating outing, limited the White Sox to one unearned run over 6 2/3 innings as the San Francisco Giants beat the White Sox 6-1 on Tuesday.
Cain gave up three hits and one walk, while striking out two.
Four relievers combined for 2 1/3 innings of scoreless work, allowing only one hit. Alex Hinshaw, Sergio Romo and Dan Runzler continued to be unscored upon in spring training.
The Giants scored six runs in the first four innings.
Inside the box score
Andres Torres went 2 for 4 with a double, triple, two runs scored and an RBI.
Pablo Sandoval was 2 for 4 with two doubles, one run and one RBI.
Bengie Molina was 2 for 4 with two doubles, one run and one RBI.
Aubrey Huff was 1 for 3 with a double, one run and one RBI. He also committed an error at first base.
Edgar Renteria was 1 for 3 with an RBI.
Kevin Frandsen was 1 for 2 with a run and RBI.
Split-squad games are largely over for most teams. But because the Giants (16-6) are making up a rained-out game against the Royals from earlier this month, they will split today. Jonathan Sanchez gets the start in a 1:05 p.m. game against the Reds. Then come the make-up game with the Royals at 6:05 p.m. Henry Sosa will start that game.
Fred Lewis and Buster Posey hit back-to-back home runs as part of a five-run eighth inning as the Giants beat the Chicago White in Scottsdale, Ariz.