WORLD SERIES NOTEBOOK
Zito couldn't believe teammates were chanting his name
Southpaw capped long journey back to top in Detroit, celebrating title
Published: Sunday, October 28, 2012 at 3:00 a.m.
Last Modified: Sunday, October 28, 2012 at 10:33 p.m.
DETROIT — Pulled away for an interview, Barry Zito could have sworn he heard his teammates chanting, “Barry! Barry! Barry!” in the clubhouse. He figured he had imagined it.
He hadn't. Zito, the target of fans' scorn for several years, the guy who didn't even make the active roster during the Giants' postseason run of 2010, had become a World Series hero. His victory over Tigers ace Justin Verlander in Game 1 set the tone for a San Francisco sweep.
Even the fans and writers who have ripped Zito must admire the guy's resilience.
“A lot of learning goes on in life,” he said in the victors' clubhouse. “On the job is the way you get to learn certain lessons. The lows can be lows. I've made a lot of adjustments. Sometimes you just have to take your lashings. It's for a reason.”
Zito walked a mental tightrope watching Game 4. He wanted to be positive about a Giants victory, but he also ready to be ready to pitch Game 5 if the Tigers prevailed.
“A home run, and I'm on the mound (Monday),” Zito said.
What the heck. He's done so well lately, he can take a few days off.
STAND UP FOR THE DEFENSE
Before these playoffs started, the Giants were not considered a strong defensive team in most circles. They ranked fourth in the National League with 115 errors this year. But that figure included some early-season jitters by young shortstop Brandon Crawford, and the defense tightened when Marco Scutaro joined the team in late July, and when Gregor Blanco took over for suspended Melky Cabrera in left field in mid-August.
The Giants' defense has been superb in the postseason. Practically every starter has made at least one excellent play. The team that averaged .71 errors per game in the regular season averaged just .44 in the postseason.
“I think it says a lot about our team athleticism, with Blanco and (Angel) Pagan and Hunter (Pence) out in the outfield making sliding or diving catches it seems like every game, and then me and Marco making some plays up the middle,” Crawford said. “It seems like we kind of stop rallies from starting.”
THERIOT A DESIGNATED HIT
Before the World Series began, Bochy suggested that his top two candidates for designated hitter in Detroit were Hector Sanchez and Aubrey Huff. But when Bochy went with a right-handed hitter to DH in Game 4, it wasn't Huff who got the call but backup second baseman Ryan Theriot.
“I did consider Huff. Theriot is going to DH,” Bochy said Sunday. “He's done a great job for us all year. I think he's batted right-handers well this year, and he's an experienced veteran that finds a way to get the bat on the ball. .
And it was Theriot, of course, who got a hit and scored the winning run in the 10th inning.
A DODGER YOU CAN CHEER FOR
During a pregame ceremony, Dodgers pitcher Clayton Kershaw was presented with the 2012 Roberto Clemente Award, which recognizes the MLB player who best represents the game through positive contributions on and off the field.
Clemente, of course, was the Hall of Fame Pittsburgh Pirates outfielder who died in a plane crash on New Year's Eve 1972 while trying to deliver supplies to earthquake victims in Nicaragua. His widow, Vera Clemente, was on hand to honor Kershaw.
Kershaw and his wife, Ellen, are highly involved in the nonprofit Arise Africa, which is helping the couple build and sustain an orphanage in Lusaka, Zambia. The Kershaws also are creating an emergency fund for the children, whom they visit annually.
Kershaw, the youngest player ever to win the Clemente award, was humble in accepting the trophy — and gracious toward his rivals, the Giants.
“If you told me they were on the verge of a sweep tonight, I probably wouldn't have believed you,” he said before the game. “But they're such a great team and got so many good players. I'm not surprised that they're here by any means.”
Pablo Sandoval was the World Series MVP. He hit .500 over four games and blasted three home runs in Game 1. ... Game-time temperature was 44 degrees, even colder than that of Game 3. ... From the start of Game 5 of the NL championship series and into Sunday's Game 4 of the Series, the Giants did not trail for a string of 56 innings. According to Elias, it was the second-longest streak ever in a single postseason
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