When the San Francisco Giants signed Barry Zito to the then-richest contract for a pitcher in major league history prior to the 2007 season, they believed the former Cy Young Award winner from across the bay would anchor their rotation for years to come.
Now considered one of the biggest free-agent busts ever, Zito is limping toward the end of what could be his final season with the disappointing defending champions.
The Giants will attempt to win for the first time in Zito's 11 road starts as he looks to help send the San Diego Padres to a fourth straight defeat Monday afternoon.
Zito won the 2002 AL Cy Young Award during a solid seven-year run with Oakland before signing a seven-year, $126 million contract with San Francisco. He hasn't quite lived up to that deal, though, going 62-79 with a 4.62 ERA in 195 starts and 10 relief appearances in the regular season.
The left-hander made four appearances out of the bullpen in August, but his return to the rotation hasn't brought any better results. Zito (4-10, 5.81 ERA) allowed six runs in 3 2-3 innings of a 12-1 loss to Boston on Aug. 21 before giving up five runs in four frames of last Monday's 6-1 defeat at Colorado.
He's pitched fewer than five innings in each of his last five starts, going 0-4 with an 11.21 ERA. He's 0-8 with a 10.10 ERA in 10 road starts this season - all Giants losses - tossing fewer than six innings in each.
Zito has an $18 million team option for 2014, though the Giants could buy him out for $7 million."I don't know. I don't know," said Zito, who went 2-0 with a 1.69 ERA in three 2012 playoff starts. "I've looked at tape of my starts in the playoffs and my starts this year. I've made more pitches this year without the results."
The left-hander is 1-1 with a 3.44 ERA in four starts versus the Padres this season after giving up four runs - including solo homers to Chris Denorfia , Nick Hundley and Will Venable - in two innings of a 10-1 loss at San Diego on July 14.
That defeat ended San Francisco's five-game winning streak over the Padres (60-76), who scored just four runs while being swept by Los Angeles over the weekend.
While San Diego mustered only three hits in Sunday's 2-1 defeat, the Giants (61-75) took two of three from Arizona by winning 8-2. Buster Posey and Hunter Pence each finished with three hits and two RBIs.
Posey is hitting .478 over his last six versus the Padres, who send Ian Kennedy to the mound.
Kennedy (5-9, 5.10) has been inconsistent in five starts with the Padres since being acquired from Arizona, going 2-1 with a 4.55 ERA. After striking out eight in seven scoreless innings to beat Pittsburgh 2-1 on Aug. 21, he allowed six runs and walked five in 4 1-3 innings of Tuesday's 10-9, 10-inning loss to the Diamondbacks.
The right-hander is 6-3 with a 2.54 ERA in 16 career starts against the Giants, giving up two runs in six innings of a 2-0 loss the last time he faced them while with Arizona on July 19.
|San Francisco Giants|
|August 23, 2013||Matt Cain||15-Day DL||Right forearm contusion|
|August 22, 2013||Matt Cain||Day-to-Day||Left game - right arm|
|August 22, 2013||Andres Torres||60-Day DL||Surgery, left Achilles - out for season|
|August 20, 2013||Pablo Sandoval||Day-to-Day||Sore back|
|August 17, 2013||Chad Gaudin||15-Day DL||Carpal tunnel syndrome|
|August 15, 2013||Sandy Rosario||Day-to-Day||Bruised sternum|
|San Diego Padres|
|July 31, 2013||Carlos Quentin||15-Day DL||Right knee strain|
|July 23, 2013||Carlos Quentin||Day-to-Day||Sore right wrist|
|July 20, 2013||Jason Marquis||60-Day DL||Strained right elbow|
|July 12, 2013||Kyle Blanks||15-Day DL||Left Achilles tendinitis|
|July 12, 2013||Kyle Blanks||15-Day DL||Left Achilles tendinitis|
|July 07, 2013||Yasmani Grandal||60-Day DL||Right knee sprain|
SAN DIEGO (AP) -- A 21-game winner only two years ago, Ian Kennedy is starting to look more like his old self. That's he doing it in San Diego has been a plus for the Padres.
"Maybe I just needed a little change of scenery," said Kennedy, acquired in a trade from Arizona on July 31. "The coaching staff, the players, everyone has just made it really easy on me to feel comfortable."
Kennedy beat an NL West opponent for the first time in 12 starts this season, pitching the Padres past the San Francisco Giants 4-1 Monday.
Kennedy (6-9) gave up one run and five hits over six innings while striking out seven. He is 3-1 with a 4.04 ERA since arriving in San Diego.
The right-hander improved to 1-5 with a 4.97 ERA in his starts against NL West teams this year.
Huston Street worked a spotless ninth to earn his 26th save in 27 chances as the Padres snapped a three-game losing streak.
"I felt like I could throw my fastball when I wanted to and when you work off that, that is how you have successful games," Kennedy said.
Padres manager Bud Black noted that Kennedy's strikes seldom got too much of the plate.
"He got some fastballs in good spots and that was the key in a couple of big situations," Black said. "He had the fastball at the top of the zone and the fastball into the lefties, and the fastball away from them, too. His fastball was around the zone and that was what he had going today."
"The changeup and curveball came into play, but not as much as we've seen him use it in other games. When he needed to throw a strike he did. When he needed an out, he got one."
Barry Zito (4-11) lost his eighth straight decision. He has won only once in his last 20 starts.
Zito was pulled after four innings, allowing four earned runs on four hits and three walks. He fell to 0-9 with a 10.00 ERA in his last 11 starts away from AT&T Park.
"It's hard to narrow it down to one thing," Zito said of his road woes. "Normally the splits aren't really that bad in one direction."
Giants manager Bruce Bochy said Zito started well, then lost his command.
"He threw well in the first inning," Bochy said. "Then he had trouble finding the strike zone there and that caused all the problems. That's what did him in."
Kennedy drew one of Zito's three walks in the second. Ronny Cedeno hit an RBI single and Chris Denorfia singled home two runs.
Nick Hundley hit his career-high 11th home run in the fourth when Zito elevated an 80 mph slider.
"He didn't get it to where he wanted to," said Hundley, who stroked his third career home run off of Zito, his most against any pitcher. "You don't want to miss those kind of mistakes because you don't get them very often."
The Giants scored in the fifth on Brandon Belt 's double. With runners on second and third, Buster Posey hit a two-out liner that third baseman Logan Forsythe reached high to snag.
In the eighth, the Giants had the tying run at the plate, but Sandoval and Crawford failed to produce against reliever Luke Gregerson .
"That was a little tap dance there, no doubt," Black said of Gregerson's performance. "Sandoval is always a tough out, no matter how he is swinging or what the numbers are. Luke threw him an offspeed pitch and he had a big swing and it only went a couple feet. That was great."
NOTES: Bochy said RHP Matt Cain will start Saturday against the Rockies after he threw a 90-pitch bullpen session on Monday. Cain has been on the DL with a bruised right forearm. ... LHP Jeremy Affeldt was to throw in a simulated game on Tuesday and Bochy said the team will determine his path after that. Affeldt has missed 41 games with a left groin strain. ... Padres 1B Yonder Alonso will undergo a MRI exam Tuesday on his ailing right hand. ... Padres 3B Chase Headley remains out of the lineup with a sore back. ... The Padres recalled RHP Burch Smith from Triple-A Tucson.