HOUSTON Barry Zito didnt express any ire toward Giantsmanager Bruce Bochy for giving him a quick hook while the Giants led 4-3 in thethird inning Wednesday night.
But with surprising candor, Zito did acknowledge that hewasnt always on the same page with catcher Buster Posey.
After admitting that he lacked focus and consistency, Zitosaid he was hurt not so much bad pitches but bad selections. Its just amatter of throwing the pitch I want to throw.
Asked the natural follow-up question, if it was anadjustment for him to work with Posey, who didnt catch his first 18 starts ofthe season, Zito said he needed to shake more and throw his pitch.
Posey, he has a great idea for hitters, but you cant alwaysguess 100 percent of the time, said Zito, who gave up three runs on sevenhits. Im upset that I threw a couple changeups there. Thats my job to shake.Its nothing Posey is doing wrong.
Zito especially wanted back the changeups he threw in thesecond inning, when Chris Snyder doubled on one and No. 8 hitter Brandon Barnes,with two outs and a base open, hit another changeup for an RBI single.
Sometimes youre just fixed up to go, Zito said. You seea sign and go, but its on me to throw my pitch.
Snyder was safe at the plate when Posey couldnt reach backfar enough to apply the swipe tag that coaches have instructed him to execute.(Although Angel Pagans throw was off line, so Posey had no choice but to driftaway from the plate to receive it.)
Bochy had Hector Sanchez work with Zito for the first 18starts of the year as he sought to keep continuity with his batterymates whilealso getting regular rest for Posey. Bochy knew he needed to pace hiscleanup-hitting catcher, who was coming off a major ankle injury sustained in acollision at the plate last season. The Giants have reaped the benefits ofthat, as Posey has been perhaps the NLs best hitter since the All-Star break.
Posey is getting pushed harder now as the Giants enter thepennant stretch and that means catching more often on Zitos day to pitch. Hehas caught four of Zitos last five starts, and six out of 26 overall.
Asked about re-establishing a relationship with Zito, Poseysaid it wasnt a concern and labeled it as just a topic that the media likes totalk about.
Clearly, Zito didnt mind volunteering it as a topicWednesday night. And although the sample isnt the largest, its interesting tonote that Zito has a 5.93 ERA with Posey and a 4.03 ERA the rest of the time.
Yet Zito also took ownership, saying he needed to do abetter job.
I know these are must-win ballgames and I didnt have ittonight, Zito said. It was a situation where my timing was off. So I wasupset with myself. Itll be there and it wont be there. Thats on me to justbe the same guy every time. Not results-wise but focus-wise, take one pitch ata time like I talk about.
At least Bochy said Zito wasnt battling any physicalissues.
He was up. He wasnt sharp, Bochy said. Ive had him fora few years and I just thought he wasnt at the top of his game. You hatetaking starters out, especially with the lead. Hes fine. He was just off.
Its going to become tougher for Bochy to keep Joaquin Ariasout of the lineup, the way hes scalding the ball over the past several weeks.
"He's been a different player this past month," Bochy said.
One possibility that hasnt been mentioned yet: Play Marco Scutaro in leftfield and put Arias at second base.
First, Bochy wants to make sure Arias wrist is OK after hegot hit by a pitch in the eighth inning. He stayed in the game, but it wasntjust a love tap he received.
He might be pretty sore, Bochy said. Well check on himtomorrow.
It might be easy to sit down Brandon Crawford for Ariasagainst right-handers, but he just keeps bringing defensive value every night.Crawford entered on a double-switch in the eighth (with Arias moving to third)and immediately got tested on two bad-hop smashes. He handled them both with amagicians hands.
Hes so gifted there at shortstop, Bochy said. Still, fora young player to sit there and watch a game, then come in and make a play,its pretty impressive.
Compare Crawford to Houston third baseman Scott Moore, who entered on adouble-switch in the sixth and promptly made a throwing error that precededArias two-run triple.
Reports are that Andres Torres has cleared waivers, and as acouple readers pointed out, hes hitting .295 against left-handed pitching. ButIm not sure Mets GM Sandy Alderson would be so friendly as to hand him back tothe Giants. And besides, from what I understand, club officials arent in arush to bring Torres back.
Pablo Sandoval hit a pop fly that struck the roof here atMinute Maid Park, which I havent seen in this venue before. Sandoval laughedwhen I mentioned it after the game, also recalling the long foul fly heliterally hit out of Cincinnatis Great American Ball Park. As far as anyoneknew at the time, he was the first player to accomplish that feat.
(Kind of like the legendary Mike Laga, who once hit a foulball out of old Busch Stadium and became an everlasting answer to a tremendoustrivia question.)
I told Sandoval about a game I covered one time on theAngels beat in 2000 at the Metrodome, when Mo Vaughn hit a booster rocket thatwouldve been close to a 500-foot home run, but it struck the roof and droppedin left field a single, according to the ground rules.
The Angels lost 1-0.
Sandoval couldnt believe it.
Wow, he said. At least mine was just a foul ball.