It's starting to reach the point at which we have to wonder if all of the bad luck, or bad karma, or bad pitching that's afflicted Barry Zito for most of the last six years is being balanced now, in the second half of October, 2012.
Zito pitched well against the Cardinals in Game 6 of the National League Championship Series, but he needed some pretty good luck -- in the form of fortuitous batted balls, and great plays, and feeble swings -- to carry a shutout in the eighth inning. And now it seems to be happening in Game of the World Series. In the top of the third, Miguel Cabrera -- as you would expect him to do against Barry Zito -- just murdered a pitch.
And so ended another enemy rally, as Babe Ruth and Cy Young and the rest of the baseball gods continue to smile upon Barry Zito.
Meanwhile, Justin Verlander retired six straight Giants after Pablo Sandoval drove a high fastball over the center-field fence in the first inning. And it might have been seven straight, but tonight those baseball gods haven't been nearly as kind to him; watch what happened when Ángel Pagán hit a chopper toward third base:
Not just toward third base, but off third base and Pagán had himself a double. Surely, though, Verlander would escape the inning. Surely, he could retire Marco Scutaro. Maybe a few months ago. But not this Marco Scutaro, who seemed impervious to Verlander's offerings. He just kept fighting them off, and finally drove Verlander's eighth pitch into center field on a line, with Pagán sprinting home with the Giants' second run.
Surely, though, Verlander could retire Sandoval this time. Except Sandoval drove a 2-and-0, get-it-over fastball the other way, a long way ... and over the left-field wall for a two-run home run. And then Buster Posey drove a single into left field. With the bullpen getting loose (!?), Verlander finally restored some order by retiring Hunter Pence on a grounder to third.
But there had been two outs, and nobody aboard, and Pagán hit a ground ball. And before you knew it, the Giants had scored three runs off the best pitcher on the planet. And somehow it's now Giants 4, Tigers 0 in the fourth inning.