Kruk & Kuip: Just a weird night for Zito
Barry Zito's final line: 5.2 IP, 12 H, 8 R, 5 ER, 2 BB, 2 K, 101 P, L. (USA TODAY IMAGES)
TORONTO – When Melky Cabrera fled AT&T Park last August, he left everything behind – including his bats.
Cabrera, through interpreter Luis Rivera, said he took possession of them on Monday, when Giants clubhouse manager Mike Murphy dropped them off at Rogers Centre.
Then, wouldn’t you know it? He used one of those bats to lace out four hits and add to the Giants’ self-immolation in a 10-6 loss to the Toronto Blue Jays.
[RECAP: Blue Jays 10, Giants 6]
“They’ll probably fire him,” Rivera joked of Murphy.
Well, no. There’s someone who doesn’t know his Giants history. As job security goes, not even the managing partner is as safe as Murph.
But perhaps all the hubbub over Cabrera, his bats, the World Series ring exchange, and all the bad mojo from last year that came welling up as a result, might be preferable discussion points to … you know, the actual events on the field Tuesday night.
How ugly, how forgettable was this loss? Well, it was the first time the Giants struck out at least 15 times and allowed at least 18 hits in a game in at least 92 years – and probably further, if there were data available to check the seasons prior to 1921.
The game began with Pablo Sandoval’s two-base throwing error. The outfielders looked like they were playing on hockey skates. And Barry Zito became the first Giants pitcher to give up 12 hits in almost five years.
The ugliness continued after the game, when Zito left the impression – or tire marks, you choose – that catcher Buster Posey wasn't calling the right pitches.
“They hit a fair amount of pitches tonight,” said Zito, after the Blue Jays teed off for a .444 average in 5 2/3 innings. “It’s probably a (matter) of throwing a better pitch, a better selection maybe.
“When they hit the pitches you want to make, and it’s a good pitch, you look back and think, 'Maybe it’s got to be better sequences.' You’ve got to sequence them differently.”
This isn't the first time Zito has questioned pitch sequences after a rough start. He did it in Houston last year, too.
So clip and save these quotes just in case Guillermo Quiroz is starting when Zito takes the mound Sunday at Coors Field.
In terms of hitting approach, Zito said he saw the same Melky Cabrera who collected 51 hits in May a year ago.
“He pulled his hands in and got the bat head on a fastball,” Zito said. “He hit a curve down and away off the plate. He hit a pretty good pitch off George (Kontos) to right field. He definitely had his old approach there.”
Bochy said if Pablo Sandoval didn’t catch a line drive to end the first inning, he might have gone to his bullpen right then and there. Good thing for everyone’s sake the Panda made the catch, and Zito lasted another 4 2/3 innings. There’s nothing worse than entering a four-game series at Coors Field with a spent bullpen.
Bochy had nothing but good things to say about Melky Cabrera after the ring handoff, by the way.
“It was brief,” the manager said. “He was thankful. He was excited to get the ring. I thanked him for his contributions. He was a big part of our team. He was a good teammate with us. He played hard every day. It’s unfortunate what happened. We all make mistakes. But he was a good guy to have on the club. I’m glad he has a job here with the Blue Jays. We’re grateful for all he did for us.”
Just underscores what has been true in baseball since the dawn of the game: Managers always appreciate players who are talented and ready to go to the post every day.
Brandon Belt had no secret against R.A. Dickey’s knuckleball, but he did take more pitches while hitting a home run. He later added an RBI double off the Blue Jays bullpen.
“That’s part of it – see the ball deep,” said Belt, who is 7-for-15 with six RBI over his past five games. “You do the best you can, and even then, there are no guarantees.”
As mentioned in the Instant Replay, Brandon Crawford became the first Giant to strike out four times this season. Last year, there was just one player on the team to earn a Golden Sombrero – and it was Ryan Theriot last June against the A’s.
Santiago Casilla was available out of the bullpen Tuesday night, Bochy said.
Casilla, who hasn’t appeared since May 8 because of a cyst in his right knee, was fitted for a knee brace and has grown more comfortable wearing it while pitching.
“He seems to like it,” Bochy said
And now for the news of the day: ESPN’s Pedro Gomez reports that the Dodgers are nearing a deal with Jonathan Sanchez, who was released by Pittsburgh a few days ago.
C’mon. Is there any doubt they’ll eventually sign Brian Wilson, too?
Just checked and the Dodgers haven’t played the Phillies and Chase Utley yet, by the way.