Of course. It was always going to be the Milwaukee Brewers, wasn’t it?
Since being panned as one of the most notorious free agent busts of all time, Barry Zito has had a pretty long road to redemption with the San Francisco Giants.
Still, he’d just about gotten there, having come into Tuesday’s game as a 11-0 pitcher over his last 16 outings, including a pair of pivotal ones in the 2012 playoffs that helped the team earn their second World Series trophy in three years.
The Giants had won 16 straight games with the former ace on the mound, and after starting his 2013 off with 14 innings of no-run ball, Zito’s stock may have been higher than it’s been in years.
The Brewers didn’t care about any of that, though, and they didn’t waste too much time in letting the left know what they thought of his streak (which included no starts against Milwaukee, obviously) in a hurry, pounding him into early submission with eight hits over 2.2 innings for nine runs to tie an unwanted career-high.
Nine didn’t just represent the amount of runs Zito allowed on Tuesday, though. It was also his game score for the day, as the implosion was easily one of the worst of his career (ranked 11th-worst out of 403 games).
To be fair, though, Zito’s evening on the mound started innocently enough (and he did strike out five batters), and it wasn’t until the third inning that the wheels really started to fall apart, capped by a grand slam from the unlikeliest of potential grand slam hitters from the Brewers in Yuniesky Betancourt.
That said, it’s not that Zito shouldn’t have seen this coming. Though they aren’t familiar foes, Milwaukee had always been the biggest thorn in the 34-year old’s career, as he has a 7.26/1.63 ERA/WHIP against the Brewers over 10 starts in his career (only one between 2000-2006 — an eight-inning, one run gem, too) — both worse than any other team that the hurler has faced in his 13 years in the bigs.
In other words, you might even say that this latest disaster went … well, pretty much as expected.