No one forgets the day they figured out that Barry Zito wasn't going to have an ERA under 3.00. It's like the time you caught your dad leaving the presents under the tree. Such a shock. You cried out, "But, Dad, we're Jewish!", but it was too late. He had already ripped the fake payot off his face and climbed up the chimney like a lemur, and you never saw him again. At least, that's how it was in my family. You probably went through something similar.
Anywho, no, Zito wasn't good today. He was lousy with missed location, and the defense didn't catch the ball behind him. As a combination of bad ideas, that's pouring some ammonia on the spots the bleach couldn't clean. The Giants were down 6-0 before the second inning, and that's the kind of game you win once every five or ten years.
So I'm proud of the little scamps for battling back. Operation Holy Sweet Crap Don't Swing At That took a little step back today, as the Giants took three walks and struck out 15 times (more on that in a moment), but they still scored five runs. That should be enough to win most games, even a bunch of the Zito starts.
That's the takeaway from this game. Actually kind of okay with the game. Total grading on a curve. But that's what happens after a game that was a) the last one in series the Giants had already won, and b) out of hand before the bottom of the first. You start to sing "Bright Side of Life" and whistle a bit.
Melky is still awesome. Hector Sanchez is still impressing, even if he just swung at that last comma. The most encouraging part was Brandon Crawford. The hitter. Brandon Crawford, hitter. Brandon Crawford, fielder, is still discouraging. E-mail that sentence back to March and watch the stock market crash. His BABIP is back to a normal level, and with it, he's moved from wretched to quite okay. At the plate. And "quite okay" is contingent upon him catching the ball. Which, again, can start any time now.
But how bitter can you be about that game? The Giants went into Milwaukee and took two out of three. They had moments of offensive promise in the three games, and Buster Posey killed a scoreboard because of untoward things the scoreboard said about our country. 'Twas a fine series, all told.
Emmanuel Burriss went 1-for-4, which is a .250/.250/.250 line. His batting average and slugging percentage went up today.
But he should have walked in his last at-bat. As should have a few Giants. Seven of the 15 strikeouts were looking today. Some, like the Melky at-bat against John Axford, were legit. But a lot were questionable, coming on low, low pitches. Gregor Blanco lost two walks yesterday to 3-2 strikes called on low pitches. What gives?
Jonathan Lucroy gives. And taketh. And taketh. Then he hits a dinger. Then he taketh. He might be the most quietly annoying player in baseball, and in all the right ways. Jeff Sullivan just wrote a piece about catchers getting strikes called for their pitchers, and Jonathan Lucroy was the best. By a helluva lot. This confirms what Mike Fast told us last year in one of the most important stats pieces of the past few years. And where does Lucroy excel? below the zone
That doesn't mean that the Giants are off the hook for all of the whiffs, but Lucroy is pretty awesome at what he does. My beef is with the umpires who don't adjust to the pitch-framers. They have to know that Lucroy has a reputation, right? When they go back and review their calls, they have to see that it's always Lucroy faking them out, right?
Ha ha ha, umpires reviewing calls. I write for the lulz.
In case you were wondering, the Giants were perfectly average with their pitch-framing. If I had to guess, I'd say that Posey is a little above-average, and Sanchez is below-average. Stab stab stab.
Belt had two of those called third strikes. So frustrating. But both pitches were probably strikes according to GameDay. And so it goes. Another day without any positive Belt news to make the masses happy. He should have beat out an infield single -- and I love the jackass umpire professionally seeking Belt out to start an argument -- but it's hard to get too excited about an infield single right now.
Here's the worst part -- we aren't going to know about Belt for a while. Eric Hosmer went through all sorts of struggles and triumphs last year, going through the ups and downs that young players will, but he made it out the other side as a promising player. Now he's one of the worst hitters in the AL. We might not know what we have in Belt for a year. Two years. This crap could drag on for a long time. And all the while, there will be frustrating games like this. Where did the easy power go?
Still optimistic. It's still in there. Krusty is coming. Krusty is coming. Krusty is coming.
Charlie Culberson was optioned to Fresno, which probably means Ryan Theriot is back. Good. Theriot starts. Every day. At second. Every day. It has come to this. I can shelve the "Why Cody Ransom Makes Sense" post that I had in my drafts folder.