Wednesday nights' game in Pittsburgh is going to be a big one for Barry Zito, maybe his biggest of his 1+ season' with the team. After being sent to the bullpen to miss a start and get a chance to clear his head, Zito returns to the rotation to make his first start and appearance since April 27th when he gave up 8 runs in 3 innings to the Cincinnati Reds. Zito has a few things going for him as he is trying to get back on track. He will be pitching in a spacious yard and although the Pirates have been scoring a lot of runs lately, this is one of the weaker offenses and best pitching match-ups Zito has faced all season. That said, a lot must still go right for him to get his first win of the season. Zito's key will be getting through the first two innings without giving up a crooked number. He's been having trouble giving up big innings early which really seems to take the life out of the team. It's tough to stay mentally focused when your pitcher goes out and gives up a 6 spot before you even get to step up to the plate and it's no surprise that the Giants' defense and offense hasn't been as sharp on the days when Zito pitches. Anyway, tonight will be a chance for Zito to get back on track and while I'm not expecting a great outing, but I do expect to see improvement. Fearless Prediction for Zito's start Wednesday night: 5.2 ip, 7 h, 4 er, 3 bb, 3k (no decision).
One Veteran who has gotten back on track recently is Rich Aurilia. Aurilia has really turned his season around over the last week and is starting to really help the team offensively. He should be in the lineup on a nightly basis while he's swinging like he is and Jose Castillo struggling. Fred Lewis also needs to be in the lineup on an everyday basis. Fred Lewis has been sitting a lot vs. left handed pitching which doesn't make a whole lot of sense to me. I understand giving Lewis a day off here and there and picking a night when a tough left-handed starter is on the mound is a good time to give him one, but it seems like Bochy is tentative to give Lewis consistent ab's vs. left-handers. Lewis has been out of the lineup the last 2 games in a row as the Giants have faced left-handed pitching each night. It doesn't make much sense to me either because Lewis hits very well vs. southpaws and has a swing that is designed to hit the ball the other way. I don't think he looses much as a hitter vs. lefties other than a little bit of power. Fred Lewis has clearly been the standout on the team as far as the young players are concerned and the Giants shouldn't be having him in any kind of platoon. If it weren't for Lewis and the few exciting spurts shown by Jonathan Bowker, this offense would be a whole lot less exciting and those two are slowly becoming fan favorites around San Francisco.
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