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.

Raiders 2017 UDFA tracker: McKenzie adds safeties, mining for more gold

Raiders 2017 UDFA tracker: McKenzie adds safeties, mining for more gold

ALAMEDA – The Raiders have had great success mining gold from undrafted free agency. Jalen Richard and Darius Latham were kings of last year’s crop, which was six strong by season’s end. with Seth Roberts and Denico Autry other examples of undrafted free agents done good in recent years.

Can Raiders scouts find more helpful pieces from those left out of the NFL draft? Time will tell on that one, but finding the right undrafted players is something the team takes seriously. Scouts revel in undrafted players who make it in the league.

“It’s very rewarding,” Raiders general manager Reggie McKenzie said. “If we sign him as a free agent, we may have had him on the board as draftable, but getting guys post draft, that helps you down the road. To maintain a consistent winner, you have to hit on some of those guys. You have to. The way that the contracts are these days, you have to have some of those type players to help you win football games year in and year out.”

The Raiders will search for those players into Saturday evening to fill the 90-man roster. McKenzie secured some of his top targets with four seventh-round picks, though several more have signed with the club. Here’s a list of those who have signed with the team thus far:

-- OL Jordan Simmons, USC: The hulking offensive lineman signed with the Raiders, he announced on social media. Simmons stands 6-foot-5 and 335 pounds, and will turn pro after being denied a sixth year of college eligibility. The talented guard had an injury-riddled career.

-- WR Isaac Whitney, USC: Whitney is yet another undrafted Trojan to join the Raiders roster. He announced the signing on social media. He didn’t have many college stats, but is fast with the size the Raiders prefer in outside receivers.

-- WR Keon Hatcher, Arkansas: Hatcher will reportedly join the offseason receiver group in hopes of taking a roster spot. He had 44 catches for 743 yards and eight touchdowns in his final college season. (Houston Chronicle)

-- WR Ishmael Zamora, Baylor: The Bears official website reported that Zamora will sign with the Silver and Black. He had63 catches for 809 yards and eight touchdowns in 2016. He was suspended three games for abusing a dog in an incident that was caught on video. 

-- S Ahmad Thomas, Oklahoma: The Raiders need safety depth, so it was smart of Thomas to sign in Oakland. He was a three-year starter and a team captain. (Houston Chronicle)

-- S Anthony Cioffi, Rutgers: The Scarlet Knights’ official Twitter account reported a four-year starter in college will give the pros a try in Oakland.

-- DT Jordan Wade, Oklahoma: The 6-foot-4, 295-pound defensive tackle will join the Raiders. (SoonerScoop.com)

-- TE Pharaoh Brown, Oregon: The Ducks didn’t have a single player drafted, but Brown will join the Silver and Black. The tight end announced a signing on Twitter. He had 33 catches for 426 yards and five touchdown.

Check back for further updates...

49ers 2017 UDFA tracker: Southern Miss QB reportedly agrees to terms

49ers 2017 UDFA tracker: Southern Miss QB reportedly agrees to terms

SANTA CLARA – The 49ers are reportedly adding a fourth quarterback to their 90-man roster.

Nick Mullens a four-year starter at Southern Mississippi, agreed to terms with the 49ers after the conclusion of the Saturday’s NFL draft, he told the Hattiesburg American.

As a senior, Mullens completed 65.5 percent of his passes for 3,272 yards with 24 touchdowns and 11 interceptions.

Mullens joins a quarterback group that includes starter Brian Hoyer, backup Matt Barkley and third-round draft pick C.J. Beathard.

Other reported 49ers free-agent agreements include:

--RB Matt Breida, Georgia Southern: In three seasons at Georgia Southern, Breida rushed for 3,740 yards and 37 touchdowns while averaging 6.9 yards a carry. (Tampa Bay Times)

--OL Erik Magnuson, Michigan: Magnuson (6-6, 305) was a first-team All-Big Ten performer who started every game at right tackle. He announced on Twitter that he has agreed to terms with the 49ers.

--WR Kendrick Bourne, Eastern Washington: He caught 211 passes for 3,130 yards and 27 touchdowns in his four-year career. Bourne (6-1, 203) had his best season as a senior, with 79 receptions for 1,201 yards and seven touchdowns. Eastern Washington announced Bourne’s three-year contract.

--OT Darrell Williams Jr., Western Kentucky: Williams (6-5, 315) started 41 games. He played his final two seasons at right tackle after moving from right guard. Western Kentucky announced the contract agreement with the 49ers.

--WR KD Cannon, Baylor: Cannon caught 195 passes for 3,113 and 27 touchdowns in his three-year career. He turned pro after a junior season in which he caught 87 passes for 1,215 yards and 13 touchdowns. He announced his contract agreement with the 49ers via Twitter.

--DB Lorenzo Jerome, Saint Francis (PA): Jerome, a Senior Bowl invite, was named first-team FCS All-American. He intercepted six passes in 2016 with 59 tackles, 5.5 tackles for loss and 11 pass break-ups. He added a touchdown on a kickoff return. (Pittsburgh Post Gazette)

--LB Jimmie Gilbert, Colorado (Denver Post)

--OL J.P. Flynn, Montana (NEPatriotsdraft.com)

--DE Noble Nwachukwu, West Virginia (NEPatriotsdraft.com)

--TE Cole Hikutini, Louisville (NFL Network)

--LB Donavin Newsom, Missouri (Columbia Daily Tribune)

--WR Victor Bolden, Oregon State (Bolden via Twitter)