Zito & Lincecum asked to tighten up; Casilla improving
In 13 combined road starts, Barry Zito and Tim Lincecum are 1-9 with a 7.30 ERA this season. (USA TODAY IMAGES)
DENVER – Barry Zito’s home/road splits are as lopsided as you can get with nearly half the season gone by.
He has a 1.98 ERA at home. He’s 0-4 with a 11.28 ERA on the road. His last road win? Try his hero act in Game 5 of the NLCS at St. Louis last October.
It might not be heroic if Zito pitches a good one at Coors Field, against a Rockies team that he has good history against. The Giants don’t need him to change into his uniform in a phone booth. But a competitive start would be most welcome.
Let’s delve into the memory banks a little further …
Remember the last time Zito took the mound at Coors Field with the Giants towing a losing streak of at least three games? It was in April of last year, after the Diamondbacks dealt the Giants a season-opening three-game sweep. And Zito shocked the world by pitching his first shutout as a Giant.
[RELATED: Zito's unreal road splits]
It’s results like those that make Giants manager Bruce Bochy believe there could be better times ahead for Zito and Tim Lincecum on the road from this point forward. And he said he took both pitchers aside earlier this month in Pittsburgh to remind them that they’ve had plenty of success away from AT&T Park.
The meeting probably wasn’t all encouragement and hugs, though. The meeting mostly stressed “our game plan and our philosophy of pitching on the road.”
That means being aggressive and getting ahead in the count – but it also means putting away hitters and shutting down innings by not making dumb mistakes with two strikes. In essence, it means pitching with smarts as well as confidence.
Joaquin Arias made enough progress with his strained left hamstring to avoid the disabled list for now. He came out early, hit and did some light running. He’s available off the bench to pinch hit but not to play defense.
Santiago Casilla was out early as well. He threw two simulated innings and by all accounts it went well. Casilla, who had surgery to remove a bone cyst near his knee, said he doesn’t feel a sharp pain anymore when he drives off the mound.
A minor league rehab assignment is next and he could be activated as soon as July 5.
In a procedural move, the Giants activated left-hander Eric Surkamp from his rehab assignment and optioned him to Triple-A Fresno. He’ll be added to the Grizzlies’ roster on Monday, when he’ll make a start for them.
Surkamp is a year removed from Tommy John surgery but he’s not considered an option to help out in the major league rotation right now. He’s still building arm strength and stretching out his pitch count. He could be a September call-up, though, and compete for a spot in next year’s rotation, Bochy said.
The Rockies activated closer Rafael Betancourt from the DL, who’d missed a month with a groin strain. Betancourt will inherit his old role, even though lefty Rex Brothers has been near impenetrable in the interim.
The Rockies optioned Juan Nicasio, who is a hard thrower but had a 5-plus ERA. Nicasio had been penciled in to start Sunday. The Giants will get left-hander Drew Pomeranz instead; he’ll be recalled to join the rotation on Sunday.
The Giants busily filled out their All-Star player ballots before taking the field to stretch. I wonder if Tim Lincecum voted for Paul Goldschmidt…
Trade chatter is gaining more volume every day. The Giants haven't had much in the way of discussions with the White Sox yet, from what I understand.
But let's just say there's interest in Jake Peavy. And from what I understand, it could be mutual. If he's healthy, and he's expected back from his broken rib in another 2-3 weeks, there simply isn't any better fit for the Giants.