1

Oh, Barry

Barry Zito and the Giants are off to a wonderful start. I stated earlier that I thought Zito wouldn’t get past five and one of the readers said that was generous. Maybe it was.

Anyway, he was down 3-0 by the time he recorded his second out. A leadoff double by Rafael Furcal that was barely fair (a bad break), a single by Matt Kemp that scored Furcal. An awful throw by new center fielder Aaron Rowand that allowed Kemp to go to second. And then a long home run by Giants fan favorite Jeff Kent.

This team is not good.

2

Barry, Barry concerned?

The Giants are insisting that there is little reason to be that concerned about Barry Zito, despite the fact that two of his three spring starts have smelled like a slaughterhouse. Well, given that logic, there shouldn’t be any reason to be that excited about Ray Durham, either.

Truth of the matter is that Zito won’t be as bad as he’s shown this spring. But that doesn’t necessarily mean he’ll be any better than he was during his 2007 flop. He may well be better, but he’s gonna have to prove it.

Same with Durham. He may not hit .218 again, but I doubt he’ll return to the .280-with-pop guy that he was a couple of seasons ago.

These are just two names I’m throwing out there for the Giants. To go over the rest of the roster would be too darn depressing.

Your thoughts?

1

Is 2008 bye, bye baby?

OK, let’s start with the optimist’s refrain.

IT’S ONLY SPRING TRAINING!!

Alright, enough of that.  If you are optimistic about the Giants these days, then you’re one of those folks who thinks, really, a win in the California Lotto is going to happen this week. This team is hideous right now, and if you read about the deathly silence in the clubhouse, it seems that fact may be setting in with the inmates.

Barry Zito’s latest miserable outing is only the tip of the ‘berg. Zito is well on his way to being the biggest free-agent bust in baseball history, and the fact that he’s tinkering with his motion again means his head is not right. Again! He can point to excess motion  and “fewer moving parts,” but perhaps it’s all code for “He’s not very good anymore!”

Now, I like Barry a lot. He’s a little out there, and he’s become much more aloof than in his early days as an Athletic, but he’s not anti-social or stand-offish. So he’s the kind of guy I’d like to see have success. I just don’t see it happening. His fastball is average, and his curveball is nowhere near what it was. Talked to scouts in Arizona, and they think that the early struggles Barry is having is not a mirage but rather what he is. Yikes!

Same can go for the Giants, who to this point have the worst record in the Cactus League and have shown they struggle with the routine play. You have to feel for manager Bruce Bochy, who has nowhere near the solutions to all the questions and must be wondering how he got himself into this mess.

0

On Clemens and more

Back in the office after the final two weeks of offseason vacation, and feeling a bit like it’s the first day of school. Time to catch up on some things I missed, as well as looking ahead:

— The Roger Clemens/Brian McNamee “debate” on Capitol Hill basically revealed nothing. We learned that 1) Clemens is a scumbag. 2) McNamee is a scumbag, and 3) Congress has many buffoons representing it. Honestly, didn’t we already know all those things?

—  Meantime, let’s stop the “Andy Pettitte is a saint”  summations. The man lied on numerous occasions himself, up to and including the tale he put forth in the aftermath of the Mitchell Report. Good for Andy for not lying under oath, but is that what passes for being a forthright person these days?

— Speaking of Pettitte, it seems his congregation is praying for him. He’ll need them, because he faces the New York media today.

— So, the Giants are giving Barry Zito another Opening Day start. Giants fans, if you didn’t figure this out last season, let’s repeat: The best chance Zito has to succeed is to get outside his head. Handing him the ball for the opener, in my humble opinion, is not an effective way to start that process.

— I’m not even in Arizona yet, and I can already smell the fresh air created by the absence of Barry Bonds’ scent.

— Meantime, A’s starter Joe Blanton is a hot commodity, but unless the Reds are ready to part with Jay Bruce or Homer Bailey, among others, and the Dodgers are set to give up a bounty, bet on Billy Beane holding onto Blanton at least until the July 31 trade deadline.

— Eager to see how Jack Cust’s season unfolds for the A’s. True, he seems to have a job nailed down entering the spring, and that’s a first for him. But you wonder how much rope he’ll get. Cust, a career minor-league journeyman before 2007, hit only 11 home runs after the All-Star break, and finished at .217 with 7 HR and 26 RBI vs. lefties. With Mike Sweeney in camp, and the Daric Barton era about to start, Cust may wind up expendable.

More to come after we hear what “Saint Andy” has to say.