Barry Zito was left off the postseason roster all three series for the 2010 world champion Giants. This year, signs point to him being a very important player if the Giants are going to make a run into October.
Former NL ERA leader Ryan Vogelsong gave up seven runs — six earned — in 3 1/3 innings versus the Diamondbacks on Sunday. He’s now allowed 34 earned runs in 29 2/3 innings in his last seven starts, taking his ERA from 2.27 to 3.67 for the season.
Now, that’s still better than Zito’s 4.21 mark. But barring a massive rebound these next two weeks, the Giants aren’t going to have any choice but to pick Zito over Vogelsong next month. The Giants have won Zito’s last eight starts, and while the well-compensated left-hander hasn’t been great in all of them, he has performed very well in holding the Dodgers and Diamondbacks to a combined one run in 13 innings his last two times out. Overall, he has a 4.06 ERA during the streak.
In truth, even though the Giants are going to cruise to an NL West title, they can’t be feeling all that good about things right now. Madison Bumgarner has struggled in his last four starts, and Matt Cain hasn’t been at his sharpest either. While Tim Lincecum is throwing better, it’s come with a lot of walks. It’s the offense that’s been carrying the load of late: the Giants rank third in the NL in runs scored and ninth in runs allowed since the All-Star break.
The Cubs wrapped up a four-game series against the Reds at Wrigley Field on Thursday afternoon, suffering a 13-10 loss to split the set. They’ll match up again against the Reds next week for a three-game series in Cincinnati. That’s good news for Cubs third baseman Kris Bryant, because that means he’ll get to see Reds first baseman Joey Votto some more.
As CSN Chicago’s Patrick Mooney reports, Bryant has grown quite fond of Votto. Bryant has already won a World Series ring, a Rookie of the Year Award, and an MVP Award, but he still looks up to Votto. According to Bryant, Votto is “the best player ever.” He added, ““He’s my favorite player. I love watching him. I love talking to him, just picking his brain. He gets a lot of (heat) about his walks and working at-bats and some people want him to swing at more pitches. But, gosh, I mean, he does an unbelievable job. You know that he’s going to give you a great at-bat every time he goes up there. It’s definitely a guy that I look up to and I can learn from.”
Bryant said that Votto is “a future Hall of Famer, that’s for sure.”
Bryant also explained how his approach changed by watching Votto. He said that in his rookie season, he was “swinging at everything.” Votto, however, is “aggressive, but he’s not going to swing at a pitch until he wants it.”
Indeed, in Bryant’s rookie season, he struck out in nearly 31 percent of his 650 plate appearances. This season, he has struck out in only 19 percent of his PA. His walk rate has also increased by more than 2.5 percent since his rookie campaign. Compared to last year, Bryant is down in HR and RBI, but his average is the same, his on-base percentage is markedly better, and his slugging percentage is only down by a minute amount.
Diamondbacks second baseman Daniel Descalso hit his team’s third inside-the-park home run of the season during Thursday’s 4-0 win over the Astros. In the top of the fourth inning, with the score 1-0 and the bases empty, Descalso ripped a 1-0, 83 MPH change-up to right-center field. The ball caromed off the wall, heading towards left field, which sent center Jake Marisnick on the chase. Marisnick tried to pick up the ball with his glove, but dropped it, which sealed Descalso’s destiny for an inside-the-parker.
It had only been five days since the Diamondbacks’ last inside-the-park home run. David Peralta hit one against the Cubs on August 12. Ketel Marte legged out his club’s first ITPHR on July 26 against the Braves.
As ESPN Stats & Info notes, the Diamondbacks have three as a team, which is amazing because the other 29 teams have hit seven combined.