Barry Zito and his unicornSomewhat lost in all the fun with Melky Cabrera last night was a set of comments from Barry Zito about his struggles early on against the Toronto Blue Jays. Specifically, pitch selection and sequencing. The quotes were picked up in some form or another by Henry Schulman, Alex Pavlovic and Andrew Baggarly, who wrote this in his postgame notes:

The ugliness continued after the game, when Zito left the impression – or tire marks, you choose – that catcher Buster Posey wasn’t calling the right pitches.

“They hit a fair amount of pitches tonight,” said Zito, after the Blue Jays teed off for a  .444 average in 5 2/3 innings. “It’s probably a (matter) of throwing a better pitch, a better selection maybe.

“When they hit the pitches you want to make, and it’s a good pitch, you look back and think, ‘Maybe it’s got to be better sequences.’ You’ve got to sequence them differently.”

This isn’t the first time Zito has questioned pitch sequences after a rough start. He did it in Houston last year, too.

So clip and save these quotes just in case Guillermo Quiroz is starting when Zito takes the mound Sunday at Coors Field.

Generally, Mike Krukow is one of the more cheerful personalities one can find. His demeanor and catch phrases are reasons why (BASG meetup plug alert) we’re all getting together at North Star Cafe on Saturday to eat free Amici’s and play Giants/CSNBA Bingo for prizes, with proceeds going to Jr. Giants.

However, when Krukow gets “hacked off,” as he’d probably put it, diplomacy and subtlety often go out the window. This morning was one of those times. On his appearance during KNBR 680’s “Murph and Mac” show, Brian Murphy brought up Baggarly’s story.

Here’s how it went:

Murphy: You know what’s interesting, I’m reading Andy Baggarly’s notes here, and he actually found a little bit of tension after the game, oddly. I just kind of wanted to write this one off, but Barry Zito after the game, and Baggarly calls attention to this, says he questioned Buster’s calls. His quote, “They hit a fair amount of pitches tonight,” Zito said. “It’s probably a (matter) of throwing a better pitch, a better selection maybe.

“When they hit the pitches you want to make, and it’s a good pitch, you look back and think, ‘Maybe it’s got to be better sequences.’ You’ve got to sequence them differently.”

Baggarly goes on to say maybe that means (Guillermo) Quiroz will catch his next start Sunday in Coors Field. I don’t know. I don’t know if you’ve seen those quotes, Kruk …”

Krukow: “I did see those quotes, and I think what he insinuated there was completely off-base. Knowing Zito, knowing Buster, Buster suggests. A pitcher’s going to call his game. A pitcher who’s been around the game as long as Zito has been is going to call his game. He is responsible for those sequences. So what he was referring to was he didn’t like his own sequences. He was calling the pitches, and for Baggarly to insinuate that, I think is irresponsible. You’re putting in a controversy that is B.S. Buster suggests. Zito is always going to call his game, whether it be Quiroz, whether it be Sanchez, whether it be whoever. Zito was referring to himself, not Buster.

Murphy: Alright, interesting. So, we’ll look forward to a chat with you and Baggs behind the batting cage today. Maybe you guys can talk about it.

Krukow: I absolutely will talk to him about that, because I don’t think you can say that. Maybe he’s giving that catcher too much credit. And I think it’s easy to, especially when you have a talent like Buster. Bottom line is a veteran pitcher is always going to call his own game.


Similar comments from Zito generated a minor “controversy” back in August. There are spacing issues on the article and every quotation mark and apostrophe is missing, so hopefully my copyediting skills don’t distort the meaning of what Baggarly wrote:

But with surprising candor, Zito did acknowledge that he wasn’t always on the same page with catcher Buster Posey.

After admitting that he lacked focus and consistency, Zito said he was hurt not so much bad pitches but bad selections. “Its just a matter of throwing the pitch I want to throw.”

Asked the natural follow-up question, if it was an adjustment for him to work with Posey, who didn’t catch his first 18 starts of the season, Zito said he needed to shake more and throw his pitch.

“Posey, he has a great idea for hitters, but you can’t always guess 100 percent of the time,” said Zito, who gave up three runs on seven hits. “I’m upset that I threw a couple changeups there. Thats my job to shake.Its nothing Posey is doing wrong.”

Zito especially wanted back the changeups he threw in the second inning, when Chris Snyder doubled on one and No. 8 hitter Brandon Barnes, with two outs and a base open, hit another changeup for an RBI single.

“Sometimes you’re just fixed up to go,” Zito said. “You see a sign and go, but its on me to throw my pitch.”


Baggarly answered a few questions about Zito’s comments in a chat this morning.

Comment From @dale_clegg: Zito’s comments about questionable pitch sequence – is there an implication Buster didn’t have his best day behind the plate?

Baggarly: Yes that was the impression, certainly. It wasn’t the first time Zito has volunteered comments on problems with pitch selection or sequence in a Posey start. In the past, he’s also said that it falls upon him to shake to the pitch he wants to throw. He has never blamed Posey for a bad outing, but he definitely did the worm-can opening on this one.

Comment From CalBear949: Baggs…did you hear Kruk’s response to your point regarding Zito and pitch selections? He stated that Zito calls his own game and thus you were reaching. Any response?

Baggarly: I heard that he expressed some opinions about the piece I wrote on KNBR this morning, but nothing specific. He’s a friend, he’s been around the game a long time and obviously he knows a thing or two about pitching. So I respect his view regardless, and out of that respect, I shouldn’t make any more comments until I can hear what he has to say.

Comment From Michael: Can you clarify your comments insinuating Zito called out Posey about his calls?

Baggarly:”Called out” is pretty strong. He didn’t mention Posey’s name. But there was an inference that he and the catcher weren’t on the same page. That can happen to two good people who are working hard toward the same goal. It doesn’t mean there’s a rift or animosity there, and I never suggested such. But keep in mind that Zito totally made those comments out of the blue. He wasn’t asked about pitch selections or sequences or any of that. There was a reason he said those things.