Rather than go back to their ace on short rest, the Giants plan to start Barry Zito against the Reds if they extend the NLDS to four games, manager Bruce Bochy announced Monday.
The Giants picked Zito over Matt Cain even though it would be a do-or-die situation. Down 2-0 in the best-of-five series, they need to win Tuesday’s Game 3 with Ryan Vogelsong on the mound just to get to Game 4.
The guess here is that if it were a winner-take-all game, the Giants would go with Cain over Zito. However, they probably feel better about their chances of winning two games with Zito and Cain on regular rest than Cain and Madison Bumgarner on short rest, particularly after Bumgarner struggled last night.
Besides, Zito has been their good-luck charm these last two months. The Giants have won each of his last 11 starts, even though Zito has a 3.91 ERA during the span. Overall, Zito was 15-8 with a 4.15 ERA this season. He went 0-1 with a 1.50 ERA in two starts against the Reds.
Cardinal closer Trevor Rosenthal was taken out of last night’s game against the Red Sox after he gave up a big homer and a walk. He velocity was down as well, and Mike Mathney said after the game that he didn’t look right. Now the Cardinals are going to take a closer look at him, and he’ll be examined today for what is being described as “tightness” in his right arm.
Rosenthal is 3-4 with a 3.40 ERA and a K/BB ratio of 76/20 in 47.2 innings. He has 11 saves after regaining the closer’s job from Seung Hwan Oh. Now some combination of Oh, Tyler Lyons, and John Brebbia will fill in for Rosenthal to the extent he needs to miss time.
Aaron Judge hit a monster home run in last night’s win over the Mets, but he also set a dubious record. Judge struck out for the 33rd consecutive game, setting a new mark for a position player in a single season.
Yes, that’s qualified. No pitchers, of course, as I assume many of them have struck out in more than 33 straight games. Also, Adam Dunn once struck out in 36 straight games, but that straddled two seasons: he struck out in the final four games of 2011 and the first 32 games of 2012. Still, Judge’s feat is impressive, and given the nature of his game and the state of baseball these days, it’s not hard to imagine him striking out in three or four more straight games anyway.
None of which, by the way, should be all that much of a slight on Judge. The guy is still hitting .291/.420/.614, even with his second half slump. If I was a manager I’d happily accept his whiffs in exchange for everything else he brings to the table. It’s not 1959 anymore, and strikeouts are not the worst thing that can happen.