Urban: Zito's biggest start for Giants -- again


Urban: Zito's biggest start for Giants -- again

June 27, 2011


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Mychael Urban

It's time for everyone's favoriteleast favorite quasi-regular occasion: Barry Zito's Biggest Start As A Giant.The latest installment drops Tuesday at Wrigley Field, and how Zito performs will leave the fan base thinking one of two things.If he pitches poorly -- less than six innings andor more than three runs allowed -- it will be something along the lines of, "Not as easy as it was in the minors, is it? You overpaid flop."If he pitches well -- no less than six innings and no more than two runs allowed, our new and improved definition of a quality start (brought to you by Ryan Vogelsong) -- it will be, "The Cubs are a minor-league outfit, anyway. Let's see you do it against a real team."Such is life for Zito, who has accepted as much. That's a good thing.

His time in the minors was good for him, too, no matter how much eye-rolling accompanies his comments about the benefits of getting back to basics, enjoying the game more, etc."I realize nobody wants to hear any of that stuff, but when I get asked a question, I'm going to answer it honestly," he told this week. "And I honestly think this might end up being the best thing that could have happened. At the same time, none of it means anything if I don't go out there and get the job done."And get it done well. Really well. Repeatedly. The most reviled athlete in recent Bay Area history -- Alex Smith has nothing on this guy -- might never completely win over Giants fans. He's made too much money for too long with too many hide-the-kids outings already.He's well aware of this, too, and that's made him just a tad gun-shy when it comes to talking about anything he suspects might help him turn things around. Remember when Johnny LeMaster wore "BOO" on the back of his jersey? Zito might as well wear "MIRANDA," because anything he says can and will be used against him.Even his good outings have been used against him -- or at least conveniently forgotten.Quick: Who was the Giants' most effective starter in the first month or so of last season? Remember how much the 2010 team talked during spring training about the need to get off to a hot start? Zito went 5-0 with a 1.49 ERA through his first six starts.He wasn't just good early, either. He was 6-2 with a 2.78 ERA through May.He was 7-4 with a 3.43 ERA midway through June.Over six starts in July, he had a 3.26 ERA.But none of that matters. He was brutal in the August (7.76 ERA); he was as bad as the rest of the rotation in August; and when it mattered the most he was at his worst, giving up four runs (three earned) on four walks and five hits over three innings with a chance to clinch the division title at home on Oct. 2.Had he shone that day, Zito's standing with Giants fans might have forever been changed. He might have made the postseason roster. He might have contributed to the brilliant run through October.But he didn't, he didn't, and he didn't, and that's all that matters. So nothing has changed.Not much will change Tuesday, either. But at least if he pitches well, there's a chance it'll change. If he doesn't? Not one, but two steps back.

Hill to the Cavs? The best and biggest deal for the Kings is...


Hill to the Cavs? The best and biggest deal for the Kings is...

Is the George Hill era in Sacramento coming to and end? According to Shams Charania, the Kings might have an interested party in the Cleveland Cavaliers.

Hill signed a massive three-year, $57 million deal with Sacramento over the summer, but has yet to live up to the contract. Through 37 games, Hill is posting 10.5 points and 2.7 assists per game for Sacramento. Those numbers are down from 16.9 points and 4.2 assists he averaged last season as a member of the Utah Jazz.

If a deal between the two teams is going to happen, it might be more complex than just shipping the 31-year-old to Cleveland on the next flight. Here is a look at a couple of possibilities without going into potential 3-way deals.


Kings receive: Jae Crowder (3-years, $22 million), Iman Shumpert (2-year, $21.4 million - year-two a player option at $11 million)

Cavs receive: George Hill (3-year, $57 million), Malachi Richardson (2-year, $3 million with team option for third year)

Why Kings make deal: They land a very serviceable forward that instantly fills the team’s biggest need. At 27-years-old, Crowder is affordable and under contract for another two seasons, although he’s really struggled in his first season in Cleveland. Shumpert is coming off an injury and would likely opt out of his final year.

Why Cavs make deal: Hill instantly improves their backcourt. He can play the one of the two either as a starter or off the bench. Giving up tow wings might not be the best option, but Sacramento is going to want something of value back. Richardson is thrown into the deal to make salaries match.


Kings receive: Channing Frye (1-year, $7.4 million) Iman Shumpert (2-year, $21.4 million - 2018-19 contract a player option at $11 million)

Cavs Receive: George Hill (3-year, $57 million), Malachi Richardson (2-year, $3 million with team option for third year)

Why Kings make deal: Kings give up an asset in Richardson, but they shed Hill’s $19 million owed for 2018-19 season. If Shumpert opts in, the Kings still save $8 million off the books for next season.

Why Cavs make deal: Basically, they land Hill for a couple of spare parts. Richardson is


Kings receive: Jae Crowder (3-years, $22 million), Channing Frye (1-year, $7.4 million) Iman Shumpert (2-year, $21.4 million - 2018-19 contract a player option at $11 million)

Cavs receive: George Hill (3-year, $57 million), Kosta Koufos (2-year, $17 million with player option for second year), Malachi Richardson (2-year, $3 million with team option for third year)

Why Kings make deal: They land Crowder and a get out of jail free card on Hill’s contract. Koufos can opt out of his deal at the end of the season and the Kings get nothing. Throwing in Richardson isn’t ideal, but the Kings are deep at the two and they have to match roster spots.

Why Cavs make deal: They get an upgrade in the backcourt in Hill. They are also rumored to be in the market for a big and Koufos is a much more affordable option than DeAndre Jordan.

Did Quakes pull off 'steal' of MLS SuperDraft in Danny Musovski?

Did Quakes pull off 'steal' of MLS SuperDraft in Danny Musovski?

Not too long ago, former UNLV standout Danny Musovski was the darling of the mock draft. 

And rightfully so -- with 47 career goals in 88 appearances with the Runnin' Rebels, Musovski possesses a knack and nose for the goal that no MLS team can have enough of and thus an early selection in the MLS SuperDraft was expected. 

So when you examine the San Jose Earthquakes' first day of the 2018 SuperDraft, their selection of Musovski can be viewed one of two ways: it's either the steal/ best value of Day 1 at No. 30 or you're skeptical of why the 22-year-old who many experts had going in the top 10 fell all the way down the Quakes in the second round. 

Judging by the way those who know Musovski talk about him, it sounds like Earthquakes fans can lean toward the former. 

"Danny is a striker that we actually saw as one of the biggest prospects considering that over four years he had scored around 50 goals," said San Jose general manager Jesse Fioranelli via press release. "He is a player that we already knew because he was inside of our ecosystem. We are excited to have him at the club."

Fioranelli is talking about Musovski's time with San Jose Premier Developement League affiliate, Burlingame Dragons FC, in 2016 where the forward made a huge impact on a squad that made the PDL postseason fresh off his 12-goal year with UNLV. 

"Quakes got a steal by drafting Danny at No. 30," said his former Dragons FC head coach Eric Bucchere -- who spent last season as an assistant with San Jose affiliate Reno 1868 and founded Path2Pro Soccer thereafter. 

"He's an MLS-ready player with pace, a good soccer brain and knack for scoring goals," Bucchere said, adding that yes, perhaps Musovski's work during the combine wasn't steller, but those two days shouldn't overshadow the striker's upside. "Sometimes it's obvious why a player is good at scoring goals and sometimes you have to watch a player during the course of an entire season to really appreciate what makes him so good." 

There are some experts who point to Chris Wondolowski as a comporable skillset and physical build to Musovski -- a player who no-doubt can find the back of the net but won't blow you away with his athleticism. 

"The last point is that Danny showed more enthusiasm than any other player to join the organization, which was a determining factor for him to join us," Fioranelli said. 

Musovski was a four-year starter and two-time All-America selection for UNLV and the first Rebel to be selected in the Super Draft since Bradley Kamdem in 2016. During his senior season in 2017, he scored 15 goals (good for fourth in the nation) and added six assists in 16 appearances, earning Third Team All-America, First Team All-West Region, First Team All-Western Athletic Conference and Western Athletic Conference Offensive Player of the Year honors.

Time, and training camp, will tell if Musovski will make an immediate impact with the main club. But he'll definitely have a spot with Reno 1868, the Quakes United Soccer League affiliate known for scoring goals in (record-setting) bunches.