The Giants likely would have been thrilled if Barry Zito made it through five innings tonight while keeping the team in the game, but he has exceeded all expectations by holding the Cardinals scoreless through seven innings.
Zito has allowed just five hits and one walk (which was intentional) while striking out five. The southpaw got off to a bit of a shaky start in the first two innings, but retired 11 in a row until a two-out single by Daniel Descalso in the seventh. He’s at 99 pitches through seven, but will get a chance to start the eighth inning at the very least. If the Giants can hold on, Zito will have his first postseason win since Game 1 of the 2006 ALDS against the Twins.
Pablo Sandoval just tacked on a solo homer against Mitchell Boggs, so the Giants currently lead this one 5-0 going into the bottom of the eighth.
Blue Jays right-hander Marcus Stroman might be headed to the disabled list soon, manager John Gibbons told reporters following Friday’s rain-shortened loss to the Yankees. The righty lasted just four innings on the mound before calling it a night, and gave up five runs, six hits and two walks in a performance that Gibbons claimed was at least partially affected by recurring blister issues on his right middle finger. Now, it looks like he might be removed from the rotation for some much-needed rest and rehabilitation; if so, it’ll be his second such stint this year.
Stroman, 27, has struggled to return the kind of winning record and sub-4.00 ERA that characterized his previous seasons with the club, mostly due to the combined seven weeks he missed with blisters on his throwing hand and chronic fatigue in his right shoulder. In a recent start against the Rays, things got even more gruesome when his blister appeared to start bleeding in the middle of his outing and MLB.com’s Gregor Chisholm notes that the wound has constantly interfered with the right-hander’s pitch selection and delivery. When healthy, Stroman has managed a 4-8 record through 18 starts in 2018 with a career-worst 5.27 ERA, 3.2 BB/9 and 6.8 SO/9 in 100 2/3 innings. This will be the first year since 2015 in which he has not logged at least 200 innings in a single season.
While Stroman may not need an extended stay on the DL before he returns to the mound, it’s not clear what kind of timetable the Blue Jays expect for his recovery. He’s been the second-most valuable starter (behind the now-traded J.A. Happ) in a rotation that currently ranks 17th in the majors with a combined 4.90 ERA and 6.8 fWAR.