Giants Waste Another Strong Barry Zito Outing

There’s no getting around the fact that Bruce Bochy has done a terrible job managing these past several games, especially when it’s come to handling his pitchers.

Consider…

4/21: With the game tied at one, Ryan Vogelsong at 95 pitches, and a runner in scoring position, Bochy left Vogelsong in the game. Vogelsong struck out, and then allowed a couple runs in the seventh inning.

Yesterday: With the Giants losing 2-0, Bruce Bochy sent Matt Cain (at 108 pitches already) out for the seventh inning. He promptly gave up a home run to Ryan Ludwick, and his day was over after the next batter. The Giants finished that half-inning with the game far out of reach (down 8-0).

Today: Barry Zito was at 100 pitches. The Giants had a slim (2-0) lead. Bruce Bochy sent Zito out for the seventh inning anyway. After serving up a homer to Scott Rolen, the first batter he faced, Zito’s day was over.

In all fairness to Bochy, Clay Hensley and Jeremy Affeldt were messy in relief, and Dan Otero was horrible the day before. There’s an argument to be made that leaving Zito in the game — with a short leash — wasn’t such a bad decision. I don’t personally agree, though. After all, his previous inning had included a single and a couple flyouts to the warning track; and it’s not as though the bullpen needed more rest.

As the game goes on, the hitter has a progressively greater advantage over the starting pitcher.” This is basic stuff. Bochy has tried to milk his starters dry, and the results have not been pretty. Chris over at Bay City Ball was on to something.

Another quibble: Bochy’s refusal to use Sergio Romo in the game’s most important situations is inexcusable. He waited until the eighth inning — when the Giants were already losing by a couple runs — to use Romo. What a waste.

The Giants’ offense blew many opportunities as well: double digits in the hits column, but only a couple runs to show for it. Four times they ended the inning with a couple runners on. I’d expected that the team would draw some better luck with runners in scoring position this season, but nope. Doesn’t look like that’s going to happen, and frankly, it doesn’t seem to be a matter of luck (at least, not entirely).

As for Zito, another strong outing. His ERA now stands at 1.67, which is far more than I could have expected — he’s strung four good starts together, something I really didn’t think he had in him. His command was a bit shaky in the first, but he settled down and his pitch location was excellent over the rest of the start. Lots of pop-ups and weak flyballs, and a surprisingly high amount of swing-throughs.

This isn’t the first time he’s had several nice games in a row. But I can’t help but feel confident about his pitching going forward. Coming into the season, right near the top on my list of concerns for this team was the back of the rotation; those worries have all but vanished.

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5 thoughts on “Giants Waste Another Strong Barry Zito Outing

  1. Hindsight re: starting pitchers is 20/20…i tend to like the old-school appraoch re:letting them pitch…if they were removedd, and bullpen implodes, what do you say?

  2. I too am puzzled by Bochy. He seems afraid to turn to his bullpen unless the game is slipping away. And it’s not old school to let Zito pitch past his stamina, he’s not now and never was Catfish Hunter. Besides the game has changed, the relievers are better. The Zito and Cain decisions were clearly wrong, but letting Vogelsong bat was borderline moronic. Did he think his pitcher was going to get a hit? And how much longer do pitcher go past 95 pitches anyway? Why try to squeeze the last drop out of them? Perhaps he’s been drinking the same kool-aid as Jim Tracy or Grady Little. It’s better to go to a fresh pitcher a batter too early than a batter too late.

  3. It seems the staff is gun shy some. Because of Wilson gone for the season.

    Still the G-men need to get back within them selves. Stop trying to create something that is not there yet. Stick with the small things, bunting, signles, squeeze bunt, stealing bases, hit and run.

    They need to stay within them selves and try not to be the one to solve all the problems

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