Question: Barry Zito has just thrown another poor start and he’s talking to the press. Which quote will he give?
A. My arm feels like a bag of sand and I can’t hit 84 miles-per-hour anymore.
B. I’m rich, bitch.
C. I’m not being aggressive enough. I’ve got to start being more aggressive.
You know the answer by now if you’ve read any Zito article after a bad start. I’ve bolded the good parts. From the Chron:
“I was just nit-picking out there instead of being aggressive,” said Zito, whose three fourth-inning walks (not counting the intentional walk he issued) included one to Chris Snyder with the bases loaded. “There’s no excuse for it. Instead of going with the approach that worked for me the past few games, just pitching free and easy, I went back to grinding.
/looks up the word ‘Aggressive’
Maybe Barry is on to something.
I’d love to pose a question to Zito on the topic of being aggressive. When you pitch well, you were aggressive. When you don’t pitch well, you are not aggressive enough. The question is: How can you forget what works for you just 5 days previous? If it’s just as easy as being aggressive, why aren’t you aggressive all the time? The worsening of control can be seen as an indicator of arm injury and the further Zito goes down this path, the more I wonder how healthy his arm is.
Zito’s pitch quality and control has evaporated. In yesterday’s loss, Zito’s 13th on the season, Zito walked 5 batters. Including a bases loaded walk to Snyder to force in a run. Zito has started 21 games this year and he’s walked 4 or more 10 times. That’s almost half of his games. He’s walked 6 twice, 5 four times, and 4 four times. He only has one game on the season where he did not walk anyone.
Zito’s BB% is now at a grossly large 13.3%, the highest ever for Barry Zito. His K% is at 13.8%, he’s barely striking out more hitters than he’s walking. That’s a tightrope that Zito is walking and one that he’s falling off of more often than not. In ’07 the league average BB% was 8.5% in the National League. It tends to be slightly higher in the American League because of the DH, but you want to see your pitchers around 8% on average. Going beyond that, especially when you’re into the low-teens like Zito, is a trend for trouble.
Watching Zito throw is excruciating. He constantly floats pitches up and away. You cannot pitch up in the zone when you have no control and you’re topping out in the mid-80′s. Sunday’s game against the D-Backs was the typical Zito showing. No control, everything up in the zone, and a bloated pitch count by the 5th. When can I get off this ride?
Moving Zito to the side, this was the most painful event of the weekend. Lincecum matches Brandon Webb step for step while punching out 13 hitters. Tyler Walker is summoned for the 8th inning and promptly gives up a leadoff double to Augie Ojeda. Augie. Ojeda. Ojeda is a minor league journeyman that’s latched on with the D-Backs for the last couple of years but you cannot, you cannot, give up a leadoff double to Augie Freakin’ Ojeda. He’s 33-years-old and the owner of a career batting line of (.238/.319/.319). You just can’t do that. Ever. Walker wasn’t helped by an error by John Bowker — his defense has really been rough lately — but it seems that Walker has this knack of melting down at the worst possible times.
Last I checked, Walker was the 2nd highest leveraged reliever on the Giants because Bochy has time and time again put him in high leveraged (read: tough, game changing) situations. Bochy loves to give his bullpen defined roles and let them stick with it, for better or worse. Stop putting Tyler Walker in these situations and see if anyone else in the bullpen can handle them. Hinshaw, Romo, or anyone. At least if and when they blow the lead, I can accept it as a learning experience. Walker has no future, no upside, and nothing left to learn. Evaluate our youth so that we can apply it to the future. I think Bochy has to, and already is, considering this.
Rough weekend for G’s fans.
Switching back to Sundays game for second, Fred Lewis became the first ever left-handed hitter to get 4 hits in a game off of Randy Johnson. How cool is that? Lewis went 4-5 and hit two doubles off of RJ. The bunion is still an issue for Lewis but hopefully he can play through it because he’s taken a huge step forward as a player this year and it would be supremely unfortunate to lose him for the rest of the season to injury. The look on Fred’s face after Johnson tossed him an eephus pitch in the first inning was the highlight of my weekend.
Comment Starter: Crappiest weekend ever for Giants baseball?
~ Very nice article on the Hardball Times on the ’08 Draft which includes an evaliation of Giants draftpick — yet to be signed — Conor Gillaspie.
~ Various trade rumors: The Tigers could be watching Taschner. The Marlins might be interested in Bengie Molina. Randy Winn could be a 2nd tier OF that the Mets might be intersted in with Nady off the market.
~ For the PITCH/FX inclined, a very cool interview with Josh Kalk, owner of the Web PFX Tool.