Ah, as Charles Dickens once wrote, "It was the best of times, it was the worst of times..."
In San Francisco yesterday, Giants' fans got a glimpse of what a franchise pitcher should be. Barry Zito was on the mound at AT&T Park on a sun-splashed day that was perfect for baseball.
But Zito was not the franchise pitcher the fans were treated to.
Nor has he been since he arrived in the Bay Area last spring.
The franchise pitcher, of course, was Arizona Diamondback Brandon Webb. He's a Cy Young Award winning ace who is off to another great start (4-0, 1.86 ERA).
Webb whisked through the Giants' anemic lineup of has-beens and unknowns, delivering eight stellar innings of what baseball purists would classify as a "gem" of a performance.
Meanwhile, the winner of last year's Scott Boras Sweepstakes, Giants' starter Barry Zito, a former Cy Young winner himself, is off to another poor start.
Zito (0-4, 4.50 ERA) signed a seven-year, $126 million contract with San Francisco last season and has thus far shown that he is grossly overpaid. He was average again for the Giants, allowing four runs (three earned) over six innings in another frustrating loss.
Last season—Zito's first with the Giants—was also not a good one. The 30-year-old crafty left-hander went 11-13 with a 4.53 ERA, and the Giants, who have a stable of quality young arms, were the only team under .500 in the NL West.
This game featured the best against the worst. Last year's NL West champs, the Diamondbacks, against the cellar-dwelling Giants.
The latter are in the post-Bonds recession and may stay there for a while.