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.
The Red Sox salvaged the final game of their three-game home series against the Astros, winning 4-3 on Sunday afternoon. In doing so, they ended the Astros’ 10-game winning streak.
Xander Bogaerts struck the decisive blow, knocking in a run with a double in the seventh inning to break a 3-3 tie. Michael Chavis also hit another homer — his eighth of the season — while Mookie Betts collected three hits and scored three runs to raise his OPS to .899.
The Astros last lost on May 7 against the Royals, the second game of a three-game series. The Astros won the final game of that set, then swept the Rangers in a four-game series, the Tigers in three, and won the first two games against the Red Sox. It’s their second 10-game winning streak of the season, as they won 10 striaght between April 5-16, sweeping the Athletics, Yankees, and Mariners before losing the second of two games against the A’s in Oakland.
At 31-16, the Astros are slightly behind the Twins — in progress as of this writing — for the best winning percentage in the majors. The Red Sox, meanwhile, have made up some ground after ending April 13-17. They’re now 24-22, good for third place in the AL East.