Urban: Zito's biggest start for Giants -- again


Urban: Zito's biggest start for Giants -- again

June 27, 2011


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Mychael Urban

It's time for everyone's favoriteleast favorite quasi-regular occasion: Barry Zito's Biggest Start As A Giant.The latest installment drops Tuesday at Wrigley Field, and how Zito performs will leave the fan base thinking one of two things.If he pitches poorly -- less than six innings andor more than three runs allowed -- it will be something along the lines of, "Not as easy as it was in the minors, is it? You overpaid flop."If he pitches well -- no less than six innings and no more than two runs allowed, our new and improved definition of a quality start (brought to you by Ryan Vogelsong) -- it will be, "The Cubs are a minor-league outfit, anyway. Let's see you do it against a real team."Such is life for Zito, who has accepted as much. That's a good thing.

His time in the minors was good for him, too, no matter how much eye-rolling accompanies his comments about the benefits of getting back to basics, enjoying the game more, etc."I realize nobody wants to hear any of that stuff, but when I get asked a question, I'm going to answer it honestly," he told CSNBayArea.com this week. "And I honestly think this might end up being the best thing that could have happened. At the same time, none of it means anything if I don't go out there and get the job done."And get it done well. Really well. Repeatedly. The most reviled athlete in recent Bay Area history -- Alex Smith has nothing on this guy -- might never completely win over Giants fans. He's made too much money for too long with too many hide-the-kids outings already.He's well aware of this, too, and that's made him just a tad gun-shy when it comes to talking about anything he suspects might help him turn things around. Remember when Johnny LeMaster wore "BOO" on the back of his jersey? Zito might as well wear "MIRANDA," because anything he says can and will be used against him.Even his good outings have been used against him -- or at least conveniently forgotten.Quick: Who was the Giants' most effective starter in the first month or so of last season? Remember how much the 2010 team talked during spring training about the need to get off to a hot start? Zito went 5-0 with a 1.49 ERA through his first six starts.He wasn't just good early, either. He was 6-2 with a 2.78 ERA through May.He was 7-4 with a 3.43 ERA midway through June.Over six starts in July, he had a 3.26 ERA.But none of that matters. He was brutal in the August (7.76 ERA); he was as bad as the rest of the rotation in August; and when it mattered the most he was at his worst, giving up four runs (three earned) on four walks and five hits over three innings with a chance to clinch the division title at home on Oct. 2.Had he shone that day, Zito's standing with Giants fans might have forever been changed. He might have made the postseason roster. He might have contributed to the brilliant run through October.But he didn't, he didn't, and he didn't, and that's all that matters. So nothing has changed.Not much will change Tuesday, either. But at least if he pitches well, there's a chance it'll change. If he doesn't? Not one, but two steps back.

49ers freeze ticket prices for 2017, 2018 seasons


49ers freeze ticket prices for 2017, 2018 seasons

The 49ers on Tuesday informed season ticket holders that ticket prices will not increase for the 2017 and 2018 seasons. 

"We are announcing that 49ers season ticket pricing will be frozen through the 2018 season," the team wrote in an email to its season ticket holder. "Invoices for your 2017 season tickets will be made available to view and pay online in the coming weeks, including the option to enroll in a multi-month payment plan."

"Thank you for your valued and continued support as a 49ers Season Ticket Member. We look forward to serving you this season!"

The 49ers will enter the 2017 season with a new general manager and head coach after firing both Trent Baalke and Chip Kelly following their 2-14 2016 season.

Sharks trade Tommy Wingels to Senators

Sharks trade Tommy Wingels to Senators

Tommy Wingels has been traded to the Ottawa Senators for a pair of depth forwards and a seventh round draft pick in 2017, the Sharks announced on Tuesday.

Buddy Robinson and Zack Stortini, both right wings, will be assigned to the AHL Barracuda.

Robinson, 25, has 12 points (7g, 5a) in 33 AHL games with Binghamton. In seven career NHL games with Ottawa, the six-foot-six, 230-pound New Jersey native has one goal and one assist.

Stortini, 31, has three points (2g, 1a) in 22 games for Binghamton this season. The six-foot-two, 220-pound Ontario native has appeared in 257 career NHL games with Edmonton and Nashville, posting 41 points (14g, 27a) and 718 penalty minutes.

The move clears the way for the Sharks to activate injured forward Tomas Hertl, who is day-to-day with a right knee injury that required surgery in mid-November.

According to a source, there is a very good chance Hertl returns to the Sharks on Thursday against the Oilers.

San Jose will retain 30 percent of Wingels’ $2.475 million salary, according to the Senators, which comes out to $742,500.

Wingels, 28, posted 122 points (51g, 71a) and 197 penalty minutes in 337 career games with San Jose over parts of seven seasons. He was originally drafted by the Sharks in the sixth round of the 2008 NHL Entry Draft.

He is the second player that has essentially been pushed off of the Sharks’ roster as they incorporate younger players like Kevin Labanc and Timo Meier into the fold. Matt Nieto was waived in early January, and claimed by the Avalanche on Jan. 5.

"Tommy has been a valuable member of our franchise for many years, a phenomenal teammate and a true role model on and off the ice for our organization and the NHL," general manager Doug Wilson said in a statement. "As a team evolves and younger players push for roster spots, unfortunately tough decisions have to be made. We wish Tommy and his wife, Molly, nothing but success in the future.

"We also want to welcome Buddy and Zach to our organization. They add size and depth to our reserve list and we look forward to having them in San Jose.”