Isn’t Baseball Grand?
Isn’t baseball grand? Just when I think I have been watching it long enough to get a clue, I find out that I am still clueless. Why is it that Barry Zito always seems to be the main man this season, despite the fact that his statistics are not terribly impressive?
The Giants began the season by being swept by the Arizona Diamondbacks, at which time they fled to Colorado, where the Rockies at the start of the season, still posed quite the threat. Amazingly, Barry Zito pitched a complete game shutout, with four strikeouts, and no walks, leading the Giants to a 7-0 victory. If you told me that Matt Cain did that, or MadBum, or any of the other starters, I would have nodded sagely, and said I expected it. But, seriously, as much as you might like him, and respect his work ethic, who EVER expects Barry to pitch shutout ball?
This is the game that featured Brandon Crawford making an early statement about his ability to play major league baseball, by hitting a bases-loaded double, that helped the Giants beat the Rocks. The G-Men would have to wait until last night’s game against the Braves, in Atlanta, before they would record a second shutout this season on the road.
However, prior to last night’s effort, go back to June, when the Dodgers swaggered into AT&T, in first place, for the first time this season, with Barry Zito pitching the opener. Bochy didn’t even play Buster, a sure sign [thought I] that the Giants were willing to concede the first game to the Bums. Lo and behold, Barry threw another shutout victory, leading the Giants to the first of a historic three-game series sweep, all three shutouts, vaunting the Giants into first place.
Who is this guy, and how does he keep managing to surprise me? I have always been a Barry fan, but there has been too much inconsistency in his game in recent seasons, for me to still consider him a valid fifth starter. But money talks, and Barry’s salary commands ongoing attention. Otherwise, would he still be with the Giants? I don’t know, but I am starting to find out.
He is the consummate competitor. Even if he walks the bases loaded, (Barry Zito?) all is not lost. It does require intestinal fortitude to keep from switching the game over-to anything-but like Brian Wilson, Zito mostly finds his way out of the fog. I love the fact that he is able to at least temporarily quiet the naysayers, who will not leave the salary issue alone. As long as Barry keeps finding a way to buoy the Giants up into first place, I have no problem with his salary, and I don’t think you do either.
On another note, I prattle on regularly about how I constantly see things in baseball games that I have never seen before. The latest was in Timmy’s last start, when a checked-swing, called third strike, hit off of the catcher’s shin guard, and bounced back up the first-base line, where Timmy scrambled after it, and threw the runner out at first base. He thus was able to record his strikeout with a K-2-1-3 putout, which looks very peculiar in a box-score.