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Monday, April 09, 2012

Zito's Best Start as Giant Gives Them First Win

Well, after that first series in Arizona in which the bats showed up, for both teams, and the Giants came up a run short in each of the three games. It had fans starting to wonder what the heck was going on? The Giants were scoring 6-7 runs a game but they weren't winning, which was supposed to be automatic with this staff.

Unfortunately, the Giants pitching staff made a few more mistakes than Arizona's did in that opening series, and they ended up sweeping the series and taking a strong-hold early on the NL West. However, the Giants looked like a completely different team on Monday in Colorado, behind perhaps the most enigmatic arm they've had over the last decade in Barry Zito. The 33 year-old shut down the potent Rockies lineup for his first complete game shutout in 8 seasons, long before he became a Giant! Needless to say, this was his most crisp outing as a Giant and they absolutely needed it as they came out of the game 0-3 despite actually putting some runs on the board and giving the pitchers some support. The problem with the first two games in AZ is that the team got down early and couldn't quite comeback. Game 3 was one you'll rarely see, as Matt Cain was given a 5-0 lead and the Giants ended up blowing the game. That's not like them and that particular game gave me some cause for some concern. However, Zito's start Monday pretty much wiped that weekend set out of the mind and has me wondering what may be in store for San Francisco if Zito has finally figured out National League hitting. Another terrific performance that should not get overlooked from Monday's game was his catcher, Hector Sanchez who has become Zito's personal catcher and he not only impressed defensively but hat a multi-hit game and an RBI, showing exactly why I was hoping this kid would make the squad over the "WhiteStew" combo.

I wanted to talk a bit more about the offense though, which has obviously been the bright spot early on in the regular season, and was being hyped as being much improved this spring. Through the first 4 games, they haven't disappointed as newcomers Angel Pagan (2B, RBI, R) and Melky Cabrera (2 hits, 2 Runs) where each a big part of Monday's win and the Giants also got some production out of "all glove, no bat" Brandon Crawford, who connected for his 2nd double of the season, a 3-run knock that blew the game wide open and gave the Giants the ultimate 7-0 lead and victory. And wouldn't you know it, after 4 games, the young shortstop, despite having just 2 hits in 4 games, is 2nd on the team with 5 RBI. His 5 RBI trail only one Giants batter, and that Giants batter is looking like he's in MVP form right now and I aint just saying that cause this is a Giants blog. Pablo Sandoval has been just about as tough of out as there is in baseball early as he connected for his 2nd long-ball of the year, and drove in his 6th run of the season while also collecting a couple of runs scored himself. Keep in mind, again, the Giants did this without their best hitter in Posey (day off to rest), and are still without offensive catalyst Freddy Sanchez, who's working on his rehab down in San Jose and hopefully will be back before the end of the month.

It's just good to get some good vibes after such tough, 1-run losses to you divisional nemesis in AZ like the Giants did, and get back on the winning track. And I have to say, if this is just a preview of things to come for Zito (9 IP, 0 R's, 4 hits, 4K's), then the Giants may finally be getting some return on their $126 million investment.Better late then never, I guess. Now I really can't wait to see what he does next weekend vs. Pittsburgh. Hard to believe just days earlier at the end of spring, Giants fans were calling for his head. Now, I can't wait to tune into KNBR and hear the singing of a different tune. I've always liked Zito, ever since he and his publicist gave me 3 free VIP passes to his "Strikeouts for Troups" concert back during his first year in SF, happy to see him finally not only win, but dominate a good lineup like he did Monday! What if he does in 2012 what Vogey did in 2011? Wouldn't that be something!
The Giants Baseball Blog


  • At 7:18 PM, Anonymous J-Bill said…

    That was good to hear, was at work so had old KNBR and Miller and Flemm going, but it sounded good. They made Zito sound like he was in prime form, was that the case or was Col. just having a bad day at the plate? Zito's had stretches of 2-3 starts even where G fans go "here he's back", but then he stinks again for a month and goes on the DL or something.

    I hope he's back, but I have to see it for a few weeks, not just one start. Good too see the Giants offense looking better though. Good decision to keep Sanchez for Zito, obviously.

    Ohh yeah, and when is Brett pill gonna start?

  • At 1:31 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Go Giants. Zito. Zito. Zito! I was at the game (live in Denver), and I'm a lifetime Giants fan. That was so cool to see Zito dominate like that. Rockies fans where all thinking blowout with their "ace" on the mound vs. Zito, but that Giants team I saw looks good.

    Like you said, if a few breaks went differently in AZ, the Giants could be sitting at 4-0 instead of 1-3.

  • At 4:44 PM, Anonymous hitnrun said…

    Trevor, I was one of the people calling for Zito's head, and it was a total surprise to see the least likely starter become the stopper, but let's see if Zito can duplicate this effort, before we call him Vogey of this season. We have already seen him have a handful of decent starts followed by a month or two of thrashings by the opposition over his career, so I prefer to reserve high praise until he shows consistency. I still think that the fourth and fifth slots in the rotation are critical in the race with the D'backs, who have already shown that they can throw 3 or 4 good starters at the Giants.

  • At 6:04 PM, Blogger Vernon said…

    Maybe Zito will be the Alex Smith of the Giants. Who knows?

  • At 6:58 PM, Anonymous Talking Giants Baseball said…

    I honestly feel like we are living in Bizarro world here...First Lincecum get's shelled (and shelled again), and Zito throws a complete game shutout. Good for Zito, but I rather see Tim thrive!

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