Barry Zito surrendered a booming, thunderous, terrifying home run to Red Sox third baseman Will Middlebrooks in the second inning with two outs, a runner on first, and the pitcher Felix Doubront (2 career plate appearances heading into today's game) on deck.
It was a classic Barry Zito blunder. The pitch Middlebrooks launched into the stands was a... chastball (changeup-fastball)? A fangeup? Crap? It was down the middle, it got crushed, it had no business being near the strike zone. That one sequence isn't the sole reason Barry Zito lost the game, but it certainly setup the eventual loss and, most importantly, it was a track on the Zito's Greatest Hits album.
Other tracks on that album might be, "Nibble, Nibble, Nibble", "Walk The Pitcher", "Errbody On Da Opposin' Club Gettin' Hits, See? (Errbody On Da Opposin' Club Gettin' Hits)".
But it wasn't all Barry's fault. There were a lot of boners in the field: Brandon Belt tagged first base just before Shane Victorino's possum foot hit the bag, but that wasn't the call. And later, Belt, Scutaro, and Pence couldn't figure out who was going to field a pop fly and that led to another free base runner. Scutaro couldn't make a play, either. The only break the Giants (and Barry Zito) caught defensively involved Jonny Gomes' beard carrying him off the bag at second base and into the tag of Marco Scutaro.
In other words, Barry Zito pitched like Barry Zito, but the Giants played like the Giants. I'm not sure what was worse in this instance, as both entities are pretty bad. Let's all agree to never speak of 2013 again.
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Why, hello there, my new favorite Hector Sanchez image:
Of course, before today's game, there was a minor kerfuffle on Twitter concerning the future of the Giants' defense (thanks to this post and this post). Buster Posey moving to 3B? Brandon Belt in left? Ball Dudes and Gamer Babes living together?
Now, Posey has been near Huffian since the All-Star Break and there's a notion tickling the back of some minds that maybe he's a bit fatigued on account of all his amazing catching. Perhaps third base might be a place for him to maximize playing time and performance, so the notion goes, and perhaps since this upcoming free agent market is light on corner outfield power, the Giants could move good hitter Brandon Belt to left and buy a guy to play first base.
All this to say, based on the spitballing, the tea leaves, and idle speculation in a lost season, Hector Sanchez somehow winds up the de facto catcher of the San Francisco Giants... for reasons unknown. Whatever his sway, his Hectorian thrall or Sanchezian pheromones, Hector Sanchez is a part of the 5-year plan, or however long Sabean and Bochy are running things. I don't know why this is the case. There is almost literally zero data to support why he should be starting on a major league roster at this point, but here we are.
Embrace the crazy.
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Finally, the Giants didn't have *terrible* at bats today, it's simply that their contact, swing, eye sight, whatever, didn't allow for them to hit the ball with authority or anything to demonstrate remarkable skill at being major league baseball players. Not only do the Giants bat so quickly when it's their turn, the sound of their at bats is indistinguishable from the background noise. They don't make their presence felt basically at all, and it's kinda sad (for them), but really more hilarious for everyone else (fans of baseball who are not Giants fans).
On the other hand, Joaquin Arias homered, and that's worth discussing. Previously, the Giants had won every game in which he had homered for them, the last one coming in Barry Zito's 15th win of 2012 (laughter), this 4-3 victory in LA. Whooooooa, spooky. Shane Victorino went 2-for-4 in that one, meaning he's 5-for-9 in Joaquin Arias home run games.
Somehow, watching the Giants fail despite obviously trying to act like "real" hitters (adjusting approach plate appearance to plate appearance, new stances, and/or grips, etc.), reminds me of this:
No matter what the Giants do, no matter what lineup they run out there, new approach they try against a pitcher, whether it be some guy they've never seen or someone they've faced before, it doesn't work. It's pointless. And at this point in the season -- and for some of these players, at this point in their careers -- it's not really we'll be dazzled by their collective performances or perceive what they're doing as playing good baseball just because someone says it is.