When Barry Zito used to take the mound, you really didn't know what you would get from him. He may get absolutely shelled or be great. That was the Zito Giants fans saw the first two years in the orange and black.
However, 2009 has seen a different Zito and now instead of expecting the unexpected, Zito is rolling back the clock. The only problem is he is getting the Matt Cain treatment and getting absolutely no run support whatsoever.
Zito's record now stands at 1-4 after the Giants' ended up on the wrong side of a 2-1 loss against the Padres. The Giants left nine runners on base in what might be renamed a Zito Special.
You would think that a guy with that record would have an ERA close to five. Not Zito, however. His ERA now stands at 3.62 after going the distance for the first time in six years at Petco.
The Giants were 0-for-11 during the first four innings (0-for-12 on the night) with runners in scoring position and the only run scored of the game wouldn't have been if it wasn't for Emmanuel Burriss' ridiculous speed down the first base line.
Ah, the Giants and their .201 average with runners in scoring position that we have come to know and (not really) love.
Jon Miller said it while giving the highlights after the game on the radio, if you aren't hitting home runs, you need to take advantage of the runners on the bases and put together some situational hitting.
Much like Cain has done for the better part of two-plus years, Zito has just gone out and thrown the ball. He can't control what the Giants offense does, so there's no reason to complain about it.
Take the runs, or lack of runs scored out of it and look at what Zito is doing. It's actually really remarkable when you consider where he was at this time last year.
Take away the two solo home runs he gave up Tuesday night, and Zito only allowed three hits. He walked four but none of those scored. When he needed to weather the storm, he did just that.
Again, comparing Cain and Zito, they are walking batters, but those free passes aren't scoring.
That is the major difference between the Zito of 2009 and the one of the previous two years. When he would get in trouble, you would see the Giants' lefty start to fidget with his hat, his glove, whatever it was; he wasn't focusing on the hitter. You could just wait and with some patience; the runner he put on for free would come around to score.
This year Zito is just flowing with confidence.
A batter gets walked? Whatever. Go get the next one and he's done that.
That's the mentality of old and it's a welcome sight to see.
He's going to get wins if he keeps pitching like he has—that's just the nature of the beast. Even when Cain gets stifled by the lack of runs, he still gets a fair amount of wins, even though the bulk of the attention went to the losses he was racking up.
But get used to it, Mista Z, because this will be the theme for the rest of the year with this Giants team.