Saturday, April 16, 2011

SF 5, ARI 3: Mota Good, Zito Baaaad

Barry Zito only lasted 1 2/3 innings tonight after spraining his foot catching a bunt pop up. It remains to be seen whether Zito will make his next start or even go on the DL, but reports say he was walking on crutches after the game. Unfortunately, Zito probably wouldn't have lasted long either way because in the little time that he did pitch, he looked pretty terrible.

This is the first start of Zito's I've seen this year, so I am basing this assessment on an extremely small sample size, but considering his ERA was 5.56 coming into tonight, I think it's safe to assume he hasn't been very good so far. The most shocking thing to me was the velocity on Zito's fastball. Obviously he's never thrown hard, but if I remember correctly, Zito's fastball velocity was around 86-88 at the start of last season. Tonight it was 82-84, with most of them closer to 82. Velocity is a very overrated aspect of pitching because pitchers can succeed with good command and movement on their pitches, but wow, an 82 mph fastball is just really, really slow. Considering he keeps losing 1-2 mph on the fastball every year, what is he going to have a 79 mph heater in 2 years? Obviously I'm exaggerating, but not many pitchers survive with a fastball that soft. Not only that, but his pitches weren't moving and he wasn't controlling his offspeed stuff at all.

I don't want to sound like an irrational Zito hater, because that's exactly the opposite of what I am. I still think Zito is one of the best 5th starters in baseball and better than a lot of No. 4s. I thought Bruce Jenkins' notion that Zito might be cut was beyond ludicrous. I scoff at those who think the Giants have a better option in the minors. I do feel bad for the guy. He's making $18 million a year but it can't be easy going through the amount of criticism he gets and it's not his fault that a team was stupid enough to give him that much money. And most importantly, I do realize I've personally only seen 1.2 innings of his work. He did have a pretty good start to the season after all, the 1st inning notwithstanding. But being a Zito apologist who kept thinking he could put together a season better than the year before, I can't pretend like I'm not a little concerned. He looked baaaaaaaad today.

Again, I refuse to react crazily to SSS(small sample size). Just an observation.

Anyway, the Giants did win this game, so I should point out the happy from today. Buster Posey hit a 2-run homer in the 1st and Freddy Sanchez drove in 3 runs with a double and a single. And Guillermo Mota absolutely saved the bullpen by coming in and allowing just 1 ER in 4 1/3 IP, the most of his career.

The Giants go for the sweep tomorrow against Barry Enright, who is one of those mediocre pitchers that always makes the Giants offense look bad. Bumgarner is pitching for the Giants, so it'll be interesting to see if he can put together his first quality start of the year.

1 comment:

  1. I'm not going to read this because it's probably too brilliant for my small brain to handle. Good day.