SF Giants News

Barry Zito, Jonathan Sanchez And The Struggles

By Bryan Rose

It wasn’t all that long ago that Barry Zito came off of the disabled list and tossed 21 innings, giving up only 3 earned runs in that time period. It also wasn’t that long ago when starter Jonathan Sanchez was middling around a mid 3.00 ERA for the season. But sweet Jesus in a corn field, it sure feels like centuries ago.

Zito, in his last three starts, has given up a total of 19 earned runs in 15.2 innings, Sanchez not fairing any better giving up 16 earned runs in his last 18 innings, not even making it past the fifth inning in four consecutive starts.

The Giants win with pitching and when they’re not getting consistent pitching, well, they lose their grip on first place which they held for 80+ consecutive days. So given the struggles of Zito and Sanchez, where do the Giants go? First option? And maybe only option – the minors.

Many are clamoring for the call up of current Richmond Squirral, Eric Surkamp – probably the best pitcher in the system since the trade of Wheeler. Surkamp has ran through the Eastern League this year with an impressive 2.03 ERA in 128 innings, racking up 156 K’s to only 40 BB’s. Quite impressive. But is he ready to by-pass Fresno and help at the big league level? Does the early call-up alter his progression? Many questions, few answers.

The other most logical answer if Sanchez or Zito were to be replaced, would be Dan Runzler, current Fresno Grizzlie. Runzler’s stat’s aren’t as impressive as Surkamp’s (3.94 ERA), though, Runzler’s stuck in the hitter friendly PCL at a higher level so an adjustment needs to be given. We’ve seen Rev Runz at the MLB level before and do quite well, posting a 3.03 ERA in 41 games for the Giants last year, despite his early season struggles with the Giants this year before his demotion.

So put yourself in the shoes of the Giants brass – what move do you make if you’re Sabean and company?