Barry Zito just wins.
That's also the title of my forthcoming book to be released by HarperCollins. I hope. Unless they don't "get it," in which case, I'll self-publish. It's part chronicle of Zito's Giants career, part experimental poetry, part Fear & Loathing homage (with a passage featuring a trunk full of kale, scrambled eggs, and avocado.) Pre-order your copy now!
Because Barry Zito just wins. If you think about it too long, you wake up in a hospital bed. If you're lucky, you wake up in a hospital bed. Do not think about it too long. Barry Zito just wins -- championship games, World Series games, streak-ending games -- and it doesn't make sense. We're seven years into this, and it will never make sense.
And … wait, lemme check some notes … huh, turns out there was a large stretch of time in Barry Zito's Giants career where he most certainly did not just win. Whatever, he just wins now.
As tempting as it is to keep making fun of Barry Zito right now for his six walks and generally zitonian pitching, that was the best start the Giants have had in almost a week -- since Cain's five-walk performance against the Rockies, at least. The last good outing without a murder of walks was Madison Bumgarner's outing against the Nationals on the 22nd, which the Giants lost. So what have we learned? Walks are usually a good idea. Good work, Giants and Barry Zito.
There isn't a lot of insight to glean from this game -- when the Giants "strung hits together in the same inning," they scored. When the other team made a bunch of stupid plays in the same inning, the Giants scored again. If all that always happened in the same game, the Giants would win a ton, especially when you add in the part where the other team couldn't get hits with runners on base. But I will point out a couple things:
1. When a pitcher walks an American League pitcher to put a runner in scoring position, a trap door should open up on the mound, and the offending pitcher should get sucked into a pneumatic tube that empties over the Bay. Also, the game should be immediately forfeit in favor of the team whose pitcher took the walk.
2. No, that's the only thing I can think of.
Luckily, though, the rules of baseball are not set up like that, and it allows Barry Zito to do what he's best at: win. The guy just wins. And wins and wins and wins. The Giants are 7-4 in Zito's starts this year. That's the same winning percentage as a 103-win team. Last year, the Giants were 21-11 in Zito starts the same winning percentage as a 106-win team. The biggest problem the Giants face right now is they have only one Barry Zito. The guy just wins. And wins and wins.
Okay, I'm done.
dude just wins, though
The at-bat of the game was when Josh Donaldson struck out with a runner on third and one out. The Giants hadn't had a lead since April, and they hadn't scored the first run of the game since Pablo Sandoval's homer against Justin Verlander, so the air was thick with here-we-go-agains.
The red pitches were fastballs. They ranged from 84 m.p.h. all the way up to 85. Donaldson's job was to get the ball in the air, and he got four belt-high fastballs at 84/85. He failed.
If the Giants didn't win the game, that was going to be the highlight of the two series. It wouldn't have been close, really. You know how a few weirdos call the Civil War the "War of Northern Aggression?" As if changing the name also changes the history somehow? If the Giants lost, that wouldn't have been "The four games in which the A's swept the Giants." That would have been "The series when Josh Donaldson couldn't turn around on a Barry Zito fastball and he had to walk back to the dugout all stupid-like wondering about the choices he made in his life up to and including the little tuft of hair on the back of his neck."
But the Giants won. So it was an even better highlight. I'll bet Donaldson was surprised that Barry Zito tried to get him with slowballs. The scouting report had him putting hitters away with slowballs.
April 19 was the last game the Giants played a baseball game without issuing a walk. Before that? April 18.
Ah, the halcyon days.
Okay, okay, I realize this was mostly a post making fun of Barry Zito, and re-reading it, I feel bad. He settled down and had a very nice sixth inning, which was important to a bullpen running on wishes and hopes. Zito could have kept walking people, and it would have been a nightmare.
So, praise be to Barry Zito. No sarcasm, and no irony. He could have given up on the game like a lot of us did.
And if it hasn't been mentioned already, it's nice that he knows how to win. Gives his team a chance. Just knows how to win. That's a good thing.