CINCINNATI -- Barry Zito made 32 starts during the regular season, and Hector Sanchez served as his batterymate for 25 of them.
Should the Giants force a Game 4 in the National League Division Series, however, skipper Bruce Bochy indicated that Buster Posey would crouch behind the plate when Zito takes the hill.
Zito fared a shade better this year when Sanchez was his backstop. In 143 1/3 innings, he compiled a 4.08 ERA and held opposing hitters to a .254 average and .740 OPS. When Posey strapped on the catching gear, Zito posted a 4.39 ERA in 41 frames, as the opposition hit .294 with an .817 OPS off the southpaw.
"Every catcher has his own style," Zito said, "but I think the most important thing for me is to go over the game plan, regardless of who it is, and that's something I've done with both guys."
Zito, 34, faced the Reds twice this season, and he limited the high-powered Cincinnati offense to one run in six innings on each occasion. Sanchez, a 22-year-old rookie from Venezuela, caught Zito in both contests.
The Giants have been triumphant the last 11 times Zito has taken the mound. In September and October, the soft-tossing lefty has gone 5-0 with a 3.03 ERA. That includes a critical victory over the Dodgers on Sept. 9, a game in which Zito blanked Los Angeles through 6 1/3 innings with Posey as his receiver. That served as evidence that, for Zito, it shouldn't matter who starts behind the plate.
"I was encouraged that Posey and I had a good game plan and a good game against the Dodgers in early September, and we were on the same page going in," Zito said. "So I have no doubt we will be on the same page [Wednesday], too."