My Triple-Dime 10* Situational Game of the Week (NL) is on the Cin Reds at 7:10 ET.
The Reds matched a season-high with nine runs in beating the Giants Tuesday night, 9-2. Brandon Phillips and Ryan Ludwick hit HRs against Matt Cain, then Jay Bruce and Scott Rolen added consecutive two-run doubles in a six-run eighth. It was an impressive effort, considering Cain had entered the game off consecutive complete game shutouts, having struck out 15 with just one walk. The Reds set their sights on another ‘hot’ pitcher tonight, in Barry Zito. Yes, THAT Barry Zito. Everyone should be well aware of Zito’s “big flop” as a free agent. It’s a sad story and he had entered this year having been left off the Giants playoff roster in 2010 (the year the team won its first World Series since leaving New York!) and then last year was an ‘afterthought,’ making just 13 appearances (nine starts), while going 3-4 with a career-worst ERA of 5.87. So naturally, Zito throws a complete game shutout in his 2012 debut, ending Samn Francisco's 0-3 opening to the year. According to Elias; he broke a streak of 274 consecutive starts between shutouts, the longest streak of its kind in major league history. It's also the 3rd-longest streak of consecutive starts without recording a shutout. The first two on the list, Wakefield and Rueter, ran their streaks through the end of their careers, so never threw another shutout. Zito’s followed that outing with excellent starts in his next two and enters this game just 1-0 but with a 1.71 ERA and with the Giants having won all three of his 2012 starts. So why go against Zito here? For a number of reasons, the first being I’m NOT ‘buying’ his ‘hot’ start. I’ll throw in that Zito is just 3-4 with an awful 7.47 ERA in 10 career appearances vs the Reds, including nine starts (teams are 5-4). That includes Zito going 0-2 with a 7.20 ERA over five starts in Cincinnati since joining San Francisco in 2007! Let me also add that with last night’s loss, the Giants have now dropped SIX straight and 11 of 15 at Great American Ball Park. I haven’t even gotten to the Reds or their starting pitcher, Bronson Arroyo. Arroyo won 17 games in 2010 (had won 15 in each of the two previous season with Cincy) but last year was 9-12 in 32 starts (team was 15-17), posting a ERA, his worst since his first two seasons in “the bigs” (2000 & 2001 with Pittsburgh). However, Arroyo is 1-0 with a 2.91 ERA in three starts this year (team is 2-1), his lowest ERA through three starts to open a season. "Really all the three times I've been out, I've been pounding the zone with strikes probably more than I have my whole career," Arroyo told the team's official website. "I haven't been throwing a lot of balls.” He’s sure right about that, as he’s issued just ONE walk in 21.2 innings thus far. Arroyo is 3-5 with a 3.25 ERA in 10 games (nine starts) in his career against the Giants (teams are 3-6 in those starts) BUT owns a 1.81 ERA over his last six starts against them. Expect for San Francisco’s woes to continue here in Cincinnati and for Barry Zito to ‘wake up’ and remember just how bad a pitcher he’s been these last FIVE years!