…. Where is <i>he</i>?

Barry Zito fell to 0-5, and has everyone looking for answers.

…. Bochy responded to a question about Zito by saying, with lips clenched, “It was not a good night, not a good outing for him. I’ll leave it at that.”

…. Zito was not happy either. Nor did he make any excuses. “We came out and we capitalized on Webb’s mistakes,” he said. “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.”

…. When Randy Winn was asked about the team losing confidence in Zito, he said, “I think that’s a little strong. I think he would say he hasn’t pitched the way he’s capable of. But if we get a few breaks today, a few bounces go differently, and we could have had a different outcome.”

…. Defeat’s harshest glare still fell on Zito, who entered the game with the National League’s lowest run support (1.23) and endured four unearned runs in his previous two starts. “It definitely doesn’t feel good to let these guys down,” Zito said. “These guys are playing their hearts out. They did what they had to do tonight. I didn’t do my job tonight. I think it’s important for me to let them know, ‘Stick with me. I’m going to get myself out of this.’ … That’s what a team does; it picks up for guys who are scuffling. They’re all great guys so I know they’re going to do that.”

It’s hard to argue that it’s not Zito’s fault, he has been terrible, but less than a run and a half of run support puts an awful lot of pressure on a pitcher. However….

Zito’s pitched 25 innings, allowed 34 hits (11 of them for extra-bases), 12 walks, just 10 strikeouts, and batters are running out an just shy of MVP-level .321/.377/.509 .886 OPS line against him. His 84 mph fastball, lack of location, and inability to make hitters miss combine to make him vulnerable in all situations. Right now, he is lost, and nobody on this team seems able to help him find his game.

Then again, maybe losing 5 miles off your fastball (for whatever reason) means he is lost and will never be found. I’m wondering why nobody seems concerned with why he’s lost his fastball. Mechanics could hardly be the sole reason for such a dramatic decline. Is he injured, and pitching through it?

I don’t know, but something’s gotta give. Even in a year where competing is a virtual non-issue, no team can just sit there and watch their most expensive player fail like this.

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All commentary is the opinion of John J Perricone unless otherwise noted.
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