The Giants find themselves in Cincinnati against the worst team in all of baseball. The Reds are sporting a .381 winning percentage good for 32-52 on the season. The Giants themselves aren’t exactly hot stuff either as they continue to try to climb back to .500, currently 10 games under.
Barry Zito has continued to show why his 7 year deal scares the crap out of me when he pitches like a blind Russ Ortiz, with worse control. Zito imploded in the first game of the series, walking 5 straight in the 4th inning to put the brakes on the Giants momentum and a potential win. Watching Zito this year I’ve come to a depressing realization that I’ll be 31 by the time his contract is up with the Giants. Talk about a mid life crisis. Zito has been anything but inspiring in his first year with the orange and black. His reasoning for the melt down in game one against the Reds?
“I think I was trying to be too fine out there,” said Zito, who actually no-hit Cincinnati for 4 2/3 innings but walked six in five innings. “It was just not pounding the zone. Pounding the zone was good for me in the first three innings. I fell into some nitpicking a little bit.”
How many times has have we heard the phrase “I was trying to be too fine and not aggressive enough” from Zito? How about taking your own advice! Some of the calls against Zito were very close (the 3-2 curve to Adam Dunn was a strike that got called a ball) but you could tell that Zito was starting to nibble, constantly throwing low and away, low and away.
Some who felt a sense of trepidation with the Zito singing quoted his declining peripherals as a reason for concern. Zito was walking more batters, giving up more hits, and striking out less hitters. A sure sign for trouble ahead. So far this year, Zito’s peripherals have slipped even more. His BB/9 has climbed to a career high of 4.29. He’s also having the worst K/9 of his career at 5.63.
The entire staff has had trouble consistently throwing strikes this year as the Giants are tied for 4th with the Nationals (who’ve scrapped together a rotation out of almost nothing and Jerome Williams) in team walks with 584. I’ve begun to wonder what the cause could be of this team wide issue of walking hitters? Is it something that can be traced back to Righetti? Who by most accounts rank as a top pitching coach. Or is it something else? The catchers game calling? What’s the cause?
I think some of the blame has to land on Righetti who was handed a great staff on paper but has had trouble performing. A pitching coaches job is to identify pitching troubles and to correct them. You can either be in the camp that believes that A) For all it’s worth you can’t really coach major leaguers because once they’ve gotten to the big show they’re already set in their stubborn ways or B) Good coaches make players better through insightful instruction and helpful advice.
I probably fall more in the B category but I can understand what the supporters of A are saying. Hypothetically, if Righetti were to leave who would take his place? I’ve only heard great things about Trevor Wilson who has previously worked for Salem-Keizer and Fresno. I’ve been unable to locate Trevor since 2006 though, he’s not in Fresno anymore as they have a new pitching coach. Mark Gardner is the current bullpen coach and could get a shot if Dave leaves. Or maybe a superstar Leo Mazzone might be tempted to leave Baltimore now that his good friend Sam Perlozzo is no longer coaching the O’s.
I was unable to find Righetti’s contract status with the Giants, so I’m not sure how that front looks. Does anyone have any info on Righetti’s contract? And also, what Trevor Wilson is up to these days?
Comment Starter: Rags, yay or nay? Do hitting / pitching coaches even matter?