The San Francisco Giants lost Monday night in the series opener to the Houston Astros, 7-3.
Barry Zito got the start and looked pretty good through the first five innings. The Giants gave him a little run support, and they were up 3-0 going into the top of the sixth.
Early that inning, he lost command of the fastball a little bit and started to fall behind a few hitters. He gave up one run, but looked like he was going to be able to retire the side without too much damage.
Then, he hung a changeup behind in the count to Lance Berkman, who made him pay. He hit that pitch high and deep for a two-run bomb to the deepest part of the yard, tying the game at three runs a piece.
You could see the anguish on Zito’s face as he gave up the three-run inning. As I watched the game, I really did feel bad for the guy, as he had pretty good stuff all night, but got behind a few batters that were costly.
In the bottom half of that inning, I was hoping that the Giants could pick him up and regain the lead before they pulled him out of the game. That would have at least given him a chance for the win.
I thought we had a chance too, with the heart of our lineup coming to bat. But we went 1-2-3 that inning, and sent Vinnie Chulk out for the seventh. Definitely a tough outing for Zito again.
Although it was disappointing that he gave up the lead, there were a lot of things he can build on after the game tonight. It appeared he was keeping the ball down a little better than previous games. It also looked like his curveball was coming back to form and he was able to throw it for strikes.
I’d love to see Chris over at Bay City Ball do a pitching analysis on his performance Monday night. It looked like he had some of his movement back, and I’d be curious to see how he did versus previous starts.
This was the first time Zito has gotten a no-decision, after seven consecutive losses in his first seven starts of the year.
Needless to say, it will be a game that Zito looks back on and wishes he made fewer mistakes in that sixth inning. But it was definitely his best performance of the year. I can’t wait to hear his interview after the game to see what he has to say.
Conversation starter: What was up with the bonehead play by Keiichi Yabu on that busted pickoff move? Come on!