SAN FRANCISCO Barry Zito walked the tightrope for sixinnings Saturday while holding the Cincinnati Reds to one run despite six walks.
It was not the cleanest start in the world in the Giants' 2-1 loss, but it waseffective. And Giants manager Bruce Bochy took it, especially since Zito wasdealing with a neck issue prior to the game.
Zito said he had been dealing with neck stiffness for a fewdays. It limited some of his pregame work, but it didnt bother him on themound.
It kind of affects you until the adrenaline takes over,Zito said. Then you pitch through it. That kind of thing happens a lot aroundhere.
Zito said he would continue to get treatment and expected tobe fine after a couple of days. Hes scheduled to make one more start beforethe All-Star break, on July 6 at Pittsburgh.
Bochy said Zito got out of sync occasionally, but alsodescribed the six walks, including one intentional pass, as mostly strategic. Theone to Ryan Hanigan with the bases loaded didnt fall into that category, ofcourse.
I thought he was pitching smart, Bochy said. He wasnt givingin. It was just at times he got a little quick there.
The Giants have received nine quality outings out of Zito's 16 assignments. The club is 8-8 in his starts. What if you told Bochy those results at the end of spring training? Yes, I do believe he would've taken that, too.
Brandon Crawford is hitting a lot of line drives these days.He was the only Giant to reach base against Mat Latos in the first eightinnings. In addition to his double in the third, he lined out to shortstop.
Just trying to do the same thing Ive been doing, he said.See it and hit it up the middle.
Crawford said he was able to recognize Latos slider, whichmost of his teammates had trouble picking up. But Latos made him look prettybad when he dropped in a curveball.
Once were behind, its tough because you want to takepitches, get on base draw a walk, drive up his pitch count something likethat, Crawford said. But he was coming right after us.
It turns out Pablo Sandoval didnt get the wind knocked out ofhim when he made a diving play on Drew Stubbs popped-up bunt in the seventhinning. When Sandoval hit the ground hard, the impact was felt in what Bochydescribed as Sandovals private area.
How was Sandoval after the game?
Sore, he said. Very sore.
Bochy hasnt decided what hell do over the All-Star break.But dont be surprised if hes watching another baseball game. His son, Brett,was named to the Double-A All-Star Game in Reading, Penn.
The Giants are 2-4 in the season series with the Reds. Whydo I get the feeling these two teams will see each other again after Sundaysseries finale?
My quick All-Star predictions: Buster Posey and Melky Cabrera get voted in as starters. Matt Cain makes it on the player vote. And if the Giants get a fourth rep, I'll go with Ryan Vogelsong as one of Tony La Russa's final selections.