After suffering a crushing walkoff loss Tuesday night, the Red Sox bounced back with a blowout 12-1 win over Barry Zito and the Giants.
Once upon a time, Barry Zito was a guy who would take the mound, throw 85 miles an hour all night, and somehow, despite every batter who took the plate knowing there was no rush, drop these loopy curveballs and various other offspeed pitches in there and watch as his outfielders settled underneath the fly balls in the spacious AT&T Park outfield.
Those days, however, are gone. That curveball, slider, and changeup just aren't what the used to be on a regular basis. And when he throws one straight at a speed most pitchers can top with their changeup, it's gotta be like going back to high school.
For a little bit there, Zito was doing alright. Jacoby Ellsbury doubled to start the game, but Zito battled back to hold him at third. He even struck out Shane Victorino with one of those big breaking balls and caught Gomes looking at one for another K in the second.
But Jarrod Saltalamacchia didn't bite on any of five pitches, four of them out of the zone, and Zito challenged Will Middlebrooks inside at just over 80 miles per hour. Nothing doing, gone a long way to left for a 2-0 Red Sox lead.
And that would be the end of Barry Zito's effectiveness. Oh, sure, the defense didn't help him out any in the third--Shane Victorino "singled" on a bunt to the mound when Brandon Belt messed up his foot work at first, and Jarrod Slatalamacchia almost picked up a freebie single on a late throw to second before Jonny Gomes half-collided with Marco Scutaro, just barely stumbling off the bag and allowing Scutaro to apply a wild tag for the out.
But it was Zito who gave up a line drive to Jacoby Ellsbury, a sharp ground ball double to Dustin Pedroia, and a flare to Jarrod Saltalamacchia. And it was Zito who would leave the game one inning later with six earned runs to his name after a trio of Giants came together to let a ball fall into the outfield for another run.
Really, though, the best part of this game is that none of those runs would be needed after Will Middlebrooks' home run, because Felix Doubront decided to make something of a statement. The lefty made one big mistake on a full count curveball that caught a lot of plate to Joaquin Arias in the bottom of the second, and that was it. While the Giants seemed prepared to take advantage of Doubront dancing around the zone early on, as the lead grew to four runs, they became impatient, and Doubront just kept on going as he had.
What looked like it might be a short night for Doubront just got longer, and longer, and longer. Even when the Giants did make an at bat go long, Doubront tightened up as the walk came closer, and walked the line expertly, allowing just the one free pass back in the first. If not exactly what you want to see from Felix, this was a very welcome substitute indeed. Especially encouraging after a couple of bad starts in a row.
Throw in one big late-inning rally, with Jarrod Saltalamacchia and Stephen Drew combining to bring home five more runs off the woeful Mike Kickham, and it was just cleanup duty left.