Giants place season in hands of RallyZito

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Giants place season in hands of RallyZito

ST. LOUIS Barry Zitos relationship with Giants fans hasbeen difficult and often unpleasant over the past six years.

But with a season in his hands Friday night, fans arerallying behind Zito as never before. The RallyZito movement is taking off onTwitter, as legions of Giants fans changed their avatar picture to an image ofthe unique left-hander.

Lets just say that many of them are highly entertaining.Were talking about a pitcher who once had a second gig as a jeans model,remember.

But it will be all serious business when Zito takes themound for Game 5, hoping to keep the Giants alive in an NLCS that the St. LouisCardinals lead three games to one. If Zito and Co. can find a way through, theGiants would take the series back to San Francisco where Ryan Vogelsong andMatt Cain would offer authentic hope.

Zito, 34, has been in this position before. In fact, hepitched an elimination game last week at Cincinnati, and even though he didntmake it out of the third inning, the Giants managed to win for a 12thconsecutive time with the left-hander on the mound.

Zito allowed two runs, walked four and gave up a home run inthat start at Cincinnati, but he had a tight strike zone from umpire DanIassogna and only missed badly during one confrontation with Jay Bruce.

ZITO: Season stats

His stuff, actually, wasnt bad.

I don't think it was so much mechanicalmental, Zito said.I think it was just more about nitpicking on the corners too much, and insteadof just being aggressive. I'm going to go out there and be aggressivetomorrow and let my defense work for me.

Not too aggressive, though. The Cardinals led the NL with a.279 average against left-handed pitching, and they took apart MadisonBumgarner in Game 1. Six projected starters hit better than .300 against leftiesin the regular season, with Yadier Molina (.342, eight homers in 111 at-bats),David Freese (.320, five homers in 122 at-bats) and Matt Holliday (.316, 11homers in 155 at-bats) all looming as threats.

There is no bigger lefty basher in the Cardinals lineup thanfirst baseman Allen Craig. The Cal alum hit .354 with eight homers in 127at-bats against them.

Two of Craigs homers came against Zito on Aug. 7, whencoincidentally, the left-hander opposed Cardinals right-hander Lance Lynn thesame matchup set for Game 5.

But Zito gave up no other runs in his 6 23 innings whilepitching the Giants to a 4-2 win and thus began the teams current streak of12 consecutive victories with Zito on the mound.

And one other note: He threw to Buster Posey that day.

GAME 5 Lineups: Back to usual in anything but usual game

Zito went back and watched video of that start, both toremind himself of what sequences and pitches worked well, and remind himselfwhat the Cardinals might be expecting from him next.

Yeah, I've already watched everything, Zito said. I justbasically look at what their guys do against lefthanded pitchers.Certain guys have certain tendencies on certain pitches, things they like,things they don't like.

I know these guys.These guys know me. We've allbeen in this league for a while. With the exception of a couple of guysin the lineup we all know what we're up against.

Zito is making his ninth career playoff start, but never onethis deep into the postseason. His only other LCS start came with the As in2006, when he got hit hard by the Detroit Tigers (3 23 innings, seven hits,five runs, two homers) in a Game 1 loss.

The current Tigers await the NL pennant winner in the WorldSeries. Its up to Zito to keep the Giants on the path. If he struggles, Madison Bumgarner will be called upon to bridge the gap.

This is what Zito had to say after his last start at BuschStadium. It seems appropriate to include now:

I always try to have fun playing the game, he said.Sometimes its more fun than others. But I love the chemistry in thisclubhouse. I want to stay healthy, get out there every five and help this teamwin.

Ill let you know at the end of the season how happy I am.

Instant Analysis: Five takeaways from Giants' walk-off loss to Braves

Instant Analysis: Five takeaways from Giants' walk-off loss to Braves

BOX SCORE

SAN FRANCISCO — For a team with such a poor record, the Giants actually have a decent number of late-inning comebacks on the road. There’s a caveat, however 

Remember the comeback at Citi Field? The Giants lost the next day. Remember the big late rally against at Busch Stadium? The Giants lost the next day.  

It happened once again on Wednesday. A day after blowing it open late to beat the Braves, the Giants lost 5-3 on a Matt Kemp walk-off homer in the 11th. They have dropped 17 of their past 22 games, which is suboptimal. Here are five things to know from a wet and long night in Atlanta … 

—- Jeff Samardzija was mostly sharp, and he needed just 79 pitches to get through seven innings. As always, he paid for the long ball. Matt Adams hit a two-run shot early and Tyler Flowers put one about an inch over the left field wall in the seventh. Flowers’ ball had a hit probability of two percent — TWO! — but it still counted as an insurance run after a replay review confirmed that the ball hit a net behind the wall. 

—- Hunter Pence hit a solo blast in the ninth, his second deficit-clearing homer of the trip. Turns out there’s some juice left in that bat. 

—- Samardzija threw a fastball in the third that clocked in at 97.7 mph. It was his fastest pitch of the season. 

—- Sean Newcomb was as advertised. The left-hander has been a top 100 prospect throughout his professional career, and he gave up just three hits and one run over six innings. In his first three MLB starts, the 24-year-old lefty has allowed just four runs over 18 1/3 innings. 

—- With Eduardo Nuñez still sidelined by hamstring tightness, Aaron Hill got another start at third. He was 0 for 3. He’s hitless in his last 17 at-bats and he has just one hit in his last 26 at-bats.

Giants sign 27 picks from 2017 Draft, including top seven selections

Giants sign 27 picks from 2017 Draft, including top seven selections

A day after several agreements leaked out, the Giants announced that they have signed 27 of their 40 picks in the 2017 MLB Draft.

Deals were struck with nine of their top 10 picks. The only top 10 pick still unsigned is eighth-round pick John Gavin, a left-handed pitcher from Cal State Fullerton, who was just eliminated from the College World Series on Monday.

On Tuesday, Baseball America reported that first-round pick Heliot Ramos had agreed to a slot deal of $3,101,700.

Here are some other reported signing bonuses:

The following is a complete list of the Giants’ 2017 draft selections (Bold indicates player has signed):

Rnd (#) Name Pos School HT WT B/T Birthdate Scout
1 (19) Heliot Ramos CF Leadership Christian Academy 6-2 185 R/R 9/7/99 Junior Roman
2 (58) Jacob González 3B Chaparral High School 6-4 203 R/R 6/26/98 Chuck Hensley
3 (96) Seth Corry LHP Lone Peak High School 6-2 195 L/L 11/3/98 Chuck Hensley
4 (126) Garrett Cave RHP University of Tampa 6-4 200 R/R 7/18/96 Jim Gabella
5 (156) Jason Bahr RHP University of Central Florida 6-4 190 R/R 2/15/95 Jim Gabella
6 (186) Bryce Johnson CF Sam Houston State University 6-2 180 S/R 10/27/95 Todd Thomas
7 (216) Logan Harasta RHP University of Buffalo 6-7 235 R/R 8/29/96 Ray Callari

8 (246) John Gavin LHP Cal State Fullerton 6-6 255 R/L 10/10/95 Brad Cameron
9 (276) Aaron Phillips RHP St. Bonaventure University 6-5 190 R/R 10/11/96 Ray Callari
10 (306) Rob Calabrese C University of Illinois Chicago 6-1 200 R/R 10/3/95 Todd Coryell

11 (336) Doug Still LHP Missouri State 6-2 210 L/L 8/2/95 Daniel Murray
12 (366) Aaron Bond CF San Jacinto College North 6-4 185 L/R 2/16/97 James Mouton
13 (396) Tyler Schimpf RHP Texas 6-5 220 R/R 8/7/95 Todd Thomas
14 (426) Michael Sexton 3B Masters College 6-2 230 L/R 1/4/95 Chuck Fick
15 (456) Orlando Garcia SS Texas Tech University 6-2 195 R/R 12/31/95 Todd Thomas
16 (486) John Russell RHP University of Connecticut 6-3 170 R/R 10/17/95 Mark O’Sullivan

17 (516) Brac Warren RHP Oregon 6-4 235 R/R 2/14/96 Larry Casian
18 (546) Chris Corbett C Rollins College 6-1 195 R/R 7/7/94 James Gabella
19 (576) Frankie Tostado RF Oxnard College 6-3 205 L/L 3/31/98 Chuck Fick
20 (606) Keaton Winn RHP Iowa Western Community College 6-4 210 R/R 2/20/98 Todd Coryell
21 (636) Joshua Baldwin CF Georgia Southern University 6-0 180 L/L 4/9/96 Luke Murton
22 (666) Greg Jacknewitz LHP Xavier University 6-3 210 R/L 6/26/95 Kevin Christman
23 (696) Steve Matheny 3B Washington State 6-1 205 L/R 6/5/96 Larry Casian
24 (726) Nico Giarratano SS University of San Francisco 6-0 190 S/R 12/15/94 Keith Snider
25 (756) Franklin Van Gurp RHP Florida International University 6-1 210 R/R 10/26/95 Jose Alou
26 (786) Kyle McPherson SS James Madison University 5-11 180 R/R 2/9/96 John DiCarlo
27 (816) Matt Brown RHP San Jose State University 6-6 220 R/R 6/12/96 Keith Snider
28 (846) Peter Lannoo RHP Cornell University 6-6 220 R/R 11/13/94 Ray Callari

29 (876) Frank Rubio RHP Florida 6-0 203 R/R 4/23/95 James Gabella
30 (906) Sean Watkins CF Cal State Los Angeles 5-10 190 R/R 11/16/95 Chuck Fick
31 (936) Keenan Bartlett RHP Richmond 6-1 175 R/R 9/27/95 John DiCarlo
32 (966) Blake Rivera RHP Wallace State Community College 6-4 225 R/R 1/9/98 Jeff Wood
33 (996) Peyton Maddux C Virginia Military Institute 6-3 185 R/R 8/1/96 Donnie Suttles
34 (1026) Conner Nurse RHP Ridge Community High School 6-5 210 R/R 7/31/99 James Gabella
35 (1056) Dalton Combs RF Huntington College 6-3 217 L/L 10/29/94 Kevin Christman
36 (1086) Joe Marciano LHP Southern Illinois University of Carbondale 6-5 270 L/L 1/11/95 Todd Coryell
37 (1116) Andy Rohloff RHP University of Central Florida 6-3 195 L/R 7/17/96 James Gabella

38 (1146) Antonio Saldana LHP Joliet Catholic Academy 6-6 225 L/L 7/3/99 Todd Coryell
39 (1176) Brad Dobzanski RHP Delsea Reg High School 6-3 195 R/R 2/12/99 John DiCarlo
40 (1206) Liam Jenkins RHP Wabash Valley College 6-8 245 R/R 4/9/97 Todd Coryell