Tuesday, July 07, 2009
Good Zito Rears His Head; Gets Our Hopes Up...Again
When Barry Zito does this I just get flashbacks to the post-1997 Shawn Estes years. Every once in a while Estes would have these shutdown starts where his velocity was back up and his curveball was filthy, and we'd all think that the All-Star of '97 was back to dominate the NL again. Then in his next start The Flake would return and opponents would carousel around the bases in a sea of free passes. The 1997 version of Estes never did return, forever convincing me that his one great season happened only because I wished him good luck at a card signing in the winter of '96.
Zito isn't the monumental head case Estes was, but I still get those same vibes when he breaks out a shutdown start like tonight. Are we back to seeing the Zito of yore, where he gets strikeouts with his curve and keeps his walks under control? Or are we just going to be treated to Bad Zito again in his next start? At this point I just close my eyes, cross my fingers, pray that he can stay in the strike zone, and then don't be surprised when he can't.
To his credit, the game he pitched today was a gem. I felt the need to rip him on Twitter before the game, so maybe he was trying to prove something to me. I guess I should put up a disparaging tweet before every Zito start, to act as a motivator or a weird reverse good luck charm. Then again, the only people who see my little remarks on there are friends and family members who are dumbfounded that I'm egotistical enough to have a Twitter account in the first place, so I doubt it has much effect.
Zito was never in trouble at any point in the game tonight and a little Bruce Jenkins came out of me when I saw Bruce Bochy come to pull him in the ninth inning. If he were yanked for Brian Wilson, I would have been incensed, but instead it was the awesome Sergio Romo, who came in and dispatched Dan Uggla and Jorge Cantu as if he was brushing flies off of his shoulder. When does the "Romo for Closer" bandwagon start spinning its wheels?
The hitting star tonight was Juan Uribe, who blasted a two-run homer off of Josh Johnson, who is one hell of a pitcher (and who is now free from the negligent hand of Joe Girardi). I'll give Uribe this; he doesn't get cheated. All three of his home runs this year have been no-doubt-about-er's, and his shot tonight was a rocket into the seats.
Uribe has been a nice find, and has been a valuable bench player so far. I don't want him as my starting second baseman, though. Remember, kids, "good utility player" does not equate to "adequate starter". Uribe swings at damn near everything and his .305 OBP isn't what you want from an everyday player. Um, or at least more than one everyday player.
I'll take the good glove and the decent bat while it lasts, though, at least until the Giants find an upgrade. Seriously, just let Kevin Frandsen go out there and play for a month. Emmanuel Burriss got his shot and failed (at least for now). Now it's Frandsen's time. I doubt he's going to hit .069 forever.