CINCINNATI -- Should the Giants live another day, their fate will rest upon the left arm of Barry Zito.San Francisco skipper Bruce Bochy committed to the 34-year-old southpaw as his starter for a potential Game 4 against the Reds in the National League Division Series. For Zito to toe the rubber Wednesday, however, the Giants must trim their series deficit to 2-1 with a victory on Tuesday in Cincinnati, airing at 2:30 p.m. PT on TBS. "He's won some big games," Bochy said. "He's been really on top of his game, and I think he's earned this. We all do. I'm glad to be able to tell Barry that he's getting the start."
The Giants won each of Zito's final 11 starts, as the soft-throwing hurler compiled a 7-0 record and 3.92 ERA over that span. That stretch spoke volumes to his manager, who also considered pitching right-hander Matt Cain on three days' rest."This is more a case with rewarding Zito with how he's been pitching and the job he's done," Bochy said. "I think he's earned this." Zito has a healthy respect for the Reds. "They're tough one through nine," Zito said. "They even have some pitchers who can swing pretty well. You just can't let down even for one pitch, especially in this ballpark. You just have to live moment to moment, pitch to pitch, and not get ahead of yourself." Cain threw only 75 pitches in his Game 1 start Saturday. He yielded three runs on five hits and suffered the loss. Bochy said the decision was essentially made before the series that Tim Lincecum, the two-time NL Cy Young Award winner who scuffled throughout the regular season (10-15, 5.18 ERA), would pitch out of the bullpen. In seven career postseason outings, Zito is 4-3 with a 3.25 ERA. He has not taken the hill in the playoffs since 2006, when he was with Oakland. The Giants left him off their postseason roster in 2010 after he went 9-14 during the regular season. "You have to look at what Timmy has done, but you have to look at the present and that's what we have done," Bochy said. "We've looked at this year and recent history with how Barry has been throwing the ball." At a glance, Zito's career statistics at Great American Ball Park are unimpressive -- 0-2 with a 6.10 ERA in six starts. However, he yielded one run and five hits over six innings in his last outing there, an April 25 no decision in a game the Reds won, 4-2. "I hadn't done well in the past here, but I had a good one here last time," Zito said. "It's encouraging to be able to come out and refer to my most recent game in the ballpark and know that I got it done out here before."
Giants focused on immediate task of winning
CINCINNATI -- A little adversity is nothing new for the Giants.
In 2011, the club persevered without its heart and soul behind the plate, Buster Posey, and racked up 86 wins and a second-place finish in the National League West.
This season, following the announcement of Melky Cabrera's 50-game suspension, San Francisco rolled off 30 wins in its next 45 contests to capture the division crown.
So what's a 2-0 deficit in a best-of-five series?
"Obviously, the cliche is to say 'It's just another game,' but I feel like 'just another game' doesn't count when you're talking about postseason to begin with," said Giants right-hander Ryan Vogelsong, who will start Game 3 on Tuesday, airing at 2:30 p.m. PT on TBS. "Things are [magnified] a little bit and if you talk about 0-2, being down in the series, you can't really say it's just another game, either.
"In the same sentence, you still have to throw strikes and get guys out and I think the best way to do that is one pitch at a time, one out at a time, one game at a time."
Giants manager Bruce Bochy took note of his club's relaxed state as it traveled across the country Monday.
"We know where we are, and we have our work cut out," Bochy said. "It is the best of five and we'll come out ready to go [Tuesday]."
Even on their run to a World Series title in 2010, the Giants never had their backs up against the wall like this. That October, the club never trailed in a series and only lost four times on its way to a championship. Now, the Giants stare in the eye all of the statistics that suggest they stand no chance. In 21 previous occasions, no National League team has ever recovered from a 2-0 deficit in the National League Division Series. The Reds also haven't dropped three straight home games all season.
"Sure, it's difficult, but it's the best out of five," Bochy said. "You have to win that third game. We are alive, and more than anything, you have to have the attitude, 'Never say die' and you come out here, you play hard and you see what happens."