Wandy Rodriguez and Barry Zito went curveball toe-to-toe tonight in The Battle of the Quality Starts. BZ kept the Astros off base, only one walk and three hits allowed. Rodriguez obviously didn't get the memo about Giants hitters as he started off the 6th with back-to-back four-pitch walks to Edgar Renteria and Pablo Sandoval. Both later scored when Aubrey Huff laced a single and Mark DeRosa beat out a double-play grounder. It looked like Rodgriguez would dodge another bullet--the Giants had hit into three DPs by that point--but the baseball gods and DeRosa's savvy clutchness saved us. Bengie Molina displayed yet another facet of his supreme gamerosity by driving in a run on a first-pitch foul pop-up to Hunter Pence, whose up-the-line throw home allowed a dancing Panda to score. It was, suddenly, 3-0. Zito struck out the first batter in the bottom half, Michael Bourn, but Jeff Keppinger hammered a ball to the top of the wall in left that should have been ruled a homer. He was stranded on second when Zito routinely dismissed Hunter Pence and Carlos Lee. 90 pitches, 22 batters, 5 K, it was a good night's work--nothing but zeroes for our spendy, greybeard* southpaw. Two starts, 13 shutout innings, I think that's the formula, no? We got a taste of the future with Waldis Joaquin, Dan Runzler, and Sergio Romo racking up outs (2/3 IP each) with serious heat. Zito topped out at 85 mph and all three of those kids were in the mid-90s! In Zito's defense, his 71 mph hook did the job. Brian Wilson looked positively relaxed throwing his usual screamers and other vicious unhittables. Bring it on, man!
2-0 to start the season feels fecking grand, eh? Matt Cain at 11:05 a.m. tomorrow.
Dare I say it? Sweeeeeeeeeeep!!
*Todd Wellemeyer is a few months younger, making Zito the Giants second-oldest pitcher (32 in May). Only the antediluvian Guillermo Mota has more growth rings. Minor quibble: I want Bowker (or Schierholtz) starting, not Torres. Torres is a bench guy. Bowker is our starter, screw the lefty-righty stuff. How the hell will he ever learn to hit lefties if he doesn't get to swing the bat? I was happy to see Bowker get a pinch-hit. Play the man, dammit!