Barry Zito and the Giants; has there been a worse investment, ever? That SUV you bought in 2006, perhaps? The first 12 episodes of John From Cincinnati? You've got to hand it to him though; even after struggling through his suckiest performance of the season on Tuesday, he faced reporters afterward and was even quotable. Give him that.
Zito was staked to a 3-0 lead over the Diamondbacks and of course lost it — pitcher Brandon Webb adding to the torment by crushing a two-run double — lasting only 3 2/3 innings in Arizona's 5-4 victory. And so, as any schoolchild knows, Webb is now 5-0 and Zito 0-5, making that oven look like a mighty inviting place for manager Bruce Bochy to lay his weary head. Zito, who has legally changed his middle name to "Tweak My Mechanics," now has an ERA of 5.61. Hey, there's only five years remaining on his $126 million contract, so there's nowhere to go but up! Here's how the McCovey Chronicles views the situation. And one of their commenters chimes in with this. Nice. Oh, that Zito quote, as told to the Chronicle:
"We came out and we capitalized on Webb's mistakes. They gave me a lead of 3-0, and I feel like shit. I let them back in the game. I gave them two runs in a shutdown inning, and then I went out in the fourth and gave up a hit to Webb."
Webb still isn't hitting .130, but his five wins match the total of the Giants' starting rotation. He allowed three runs and nine hits over six innings, striking out seven. The Diamondbacks are 15-5 and lead the NL West by six games. They never led by more than five in winning the division last season.
• Mystery Science Theater 3000. John Smoltz became the first player in baseball history to receive a congratulatory text message on getting his 3,000th career strikeout — it came from BFF Greg Maddux, LOL — but the Braves still lost to the Nationals 6-0. Smoltz is now No. 16 on the list. Willie Harris' RBI double in the second gave the Nationals a 1-0 lead, and John Lannan got the win.
• A Royal Ass-Kicking. Troubled by lackluster sales of their team calendar, the Kansas City Royals surrendered to C.C. Sabathia and the Indians, 15-1, on Tuesday. Sabathia had 11 strikeouts and was supported by 17 hits, led by Casey Blake, who was 4-for-4 with 6 RBI.
• Dustin Time, I Found You Dustin Time. Josh Beckett was scratched just before game time with a stiff neck, but the Red Sox won their sixth straight anyway, 7-6 over the Angels. Dustin Pedroia had a tiebreaking, run-scoring double in the eighth. Still, all of that is no excuse for this very disturbing image. Nightmare Fuel tag ... activate!
• Pitch Perfect. Shall we exult over the Pirates' win? Yes, let's. It's not often that one of their pitchers isn't used for batting practice, but Paul Maholm was not to be trifled with on Tuesday, holding the Marlins to one run and four hits over six innings in a 3-2 win.