San Francisco Giants' Offense Squanders Barry Zito's Gem

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San Francisco Giants' Offense Squanders Barry Zito's Gem
(Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)

The look on Barry Zito's face hasn't changed much in his time in San Francisco. Even though Zito is clearly having his best year of his Giants tenure, the look on his face remains the same.

But ignoring the ERA over five, Zito has thrown just as many if not more quality starts than Randy Johnson this season, yet the Big Unit has eight wins to Zito's five.

Saturday night's game against the Pittsburgh Pirates was the continuation of the 2009 Barry Zito story. He pitched well but got zero support. After a rocky first inning which usually spells bad signs for the southpaw, Zito settled down and threw 6 1/3 quality innings, giving up just the two earned runs.

Zito's fortunes on the mound changed from his last start prior to the all-star break as he performed admirably but the fortunes of the Giants offense remained the same.

For the second game in a row, the Giants offense was nowhere to be found and was sporting an ugly order for the second straight night.

Although Travis Ishikawa and Nate Schierholtz were back in the lineup, noticeably absent were Aaron Rowand and Bengie Molina.

That's right, a day after the everyday first-baseman and right-fielder were benched, the team's power-hitting lead off hitter and cleanup hitter were out of the starting lineup.

In all fairness, Molina did catch all 14 innings of last night's ball game but according to Giants TV color analyst Mike Krukow, Molina was not sore and could have been in the lineup on Saturday.

With the Giants catcher as the everyday cleanup hitter, San Francisco can not afford to have his bat out of the lineup for "rest" as often as he has been over the last two weeks. Saturday's game was just the second since the all-star break and with a day game on Sunday, it seems odd to bench Molina in the second game of a three game series. If Molina needed rest, then the game to give him off is the day game on Sunday.

In Rowand's case, it sounds as if the Giants' center fielder had a bout of the flu, but I can't confirm that with any legitimate source. Therefore I can only write this piece on the basis that he was fully capable of playing and assuming that is the case, he should have been in the lineup.

Rowand's defensive play in center field has been superb that last couple weeks and his presence at the top of the order is some added power to a team that has suffered from a lack of pop for the majority of the season.

Without Rowand, the Giants replaced him with John Bowker, and moved Randy Winn over to center-field and into the leadoff spot. With a empty number two hole to fill, Giants manager Bruce Bochy decided to hit Bowker in the that slot. Now, if you're thinking what I'm thinking, then your asking yourself: Why would the Giants have Bowker in the two hole?

It is crystal clear that John Bowker is a strikeout waiting to happen, and the No. 2 spot in the order is typically filled with a hitter who puts the ball in play and makes solid contact every at-bat.

So why then was Bowker in the two hole? Well, nobody but Bruce Bochy can tell you that.

But if Rowand, who did pinch hit in this game, was not healthy enough to start the game, then why not leave Randy Winn in the two hole and put in Andres Torres at the leadoff spot?

Instead of Rowand, it would be a nice change-up at the top of the order to have the speedy Torres in that spot.

John Bowker on the other hand has looked extremely awful against big-league pitching this year. With the exception of a solo home run in San Diego, he has provided little oomph to this lineup.

It is now two games into the second-half, the Giants have two losses and have yet to throw out their standard everyday lineup of all their starters.

The standard lineup is as such:

1. Rowand

2. Winn

3. Sandoval

4. Molina

5. Schierholtz

6. Renteria

7. Ishikawa

8. Uribe

That group is a quality bunch and the variety of hitters is extremely valuable. This lineup goes as such: (against a right-handed starter) Righty, lefty, lefty, righty, lefty, righty, lefty, righty.

The everyday lineup has some great variety but these first two games against the Pirates have lacked variety.

Game 1: Righty, righty, righty, righty, righty, righty, righty, righty

Game 2: lefty, lefty, lefty, lefty, lefty, righty, righty, righty

Now, there is no denying that Giants manager Bruce Bochy must be doing something right when he has this Giants team playing much better than anyone expected.

His demeanor in the clubhouse and with struggling players might just be golden. However, do any of us know that for sure? No, we don't.

But from what we can judge, it is apparent that the lineups that Bochy continues to throw out onto the field are not getting it done.

Perhaps this means that Giants sincerely do need to add a different bat to this lineup. A Freddy Sanchez, Jermaine Dye or Matt Holliday would all be nice additions but would require the Giants to give up quality minor league talent.

Now I am of the opinion that this Giants team can win without adding another hitter because the chemistry is going good in the club house and the pitching has been phenomenal.

But, with the Giants offense sputtering to open the second-half, GM Brian Sabean may be pressured into trading talented minor leaguers away for a proven big league hitter.

Is that what Giants fans really want to see happen? A rent-a-player veteran coming to San Francisco that may mess with the chemistry and in order to get him they would have to give up quality minor leaguers?

Can Giants fans just see the everyday lineup for at-least four games in a row? Before any drastic changes are made, why not see what the starting group can do.

But right now, the Giants are not playing games with their best talent on the field and its decreasing their chance to win ball games.

Nobody is going to argue that the lineup I have come up with is not the best lineup the Giants can throw out on the field. Those are the current regulars so why does it seem like the Giants may go an entire series to start the second-half without seeing their best lineup on the field?

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