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Entries in Barry Zito (6)


Nine to Know: World Series Game 1, 8-3 Giants

1. Justin Verlander is human - Verlander went just four innings and allowed five runs on six hits , walking one and whiffing four. He hadn't left a game before his 5th inning since June 22, 2010 against the Mets, when he lasted two innings and allowed five runs. It should also be noted that in last season's ALCS, Verlander lasted just four innings against Texas and allowing three runs.

The Tigers showed great discipline at the plate, not chasing pitches out of the zone. Angel Pagan saw 22 pitches and Marco Scutaro had an eight-pitch at bat before ripping a single.

2. Pablo Sandoval is a Giant panda - Sandoval's three-homer game was only the fifth in World Series history. Albert Pujols hit three home runs in Game 5 last year for the St. Louis Cardinals, Reggie Jackson did it for the Yankees in 1977 and Babe Ruth did it in both 1926 and 1928.

3. 0-2? Oh no! - During the regular season, Verlander went 0-2 on 96 batters. He allowed 18 hits (.188) including three doubles, while striking out 40. In the ALDS, Oakland batters went 1-8 on 0-2 pitches with five strikeouts. The Yankees were 0-1 against Verlander on 0-2 counts in the ALCS. Last night, Verlander went 0-2 on Sandoval who took him deep on a 95 MPH fastball that was up in the zone.

4. What's the deal with Barry Zito? Zito threw 81 pitches and yet his average speed of his pitches didn't even reach that number. Zito's average velocity was 79.8 mph and his peak speed was 86.1. It's not that the Tigers could have been surprised, Zito's avg. speed during the regular season was 78.8 hitting a top speed of 87.3. But what was the deal with Zito who seemed to be having a full-fledged conversation with himself following his strikeout against Verlander? Whatever he said must have worked because he had an RBI single his next time up.

Zito worked the diagonal, pitching from corner-to-corner

5. What's the deal with Tim Lincecum? The Freak faced seven Tigers batters and whiffed five of them. Lincecum quickly got ready last night as Zito started to struggle and proved to be a great contrast to his felow Cy Young Award winning alum. Lincecum's average velocity was 88.5 mph and his peak speed was 92.2. The abrupt change of speeds was brutal for the rusty Tigers batters.

Five strikeouts: 2 on sliders, 2 on change-ups, one on a fastball

6. Cy Young Awards aplenty - I bet this was a World Series record for the most Cy Young Awards in one game: Verlander (2011),  Zito (2002) and Lincecum (2008, 2009). This was the  first time one Cy Young Award winner relieved another in the World Series since 1983 when Jim Palmer came in for Baltimore’s Mike Flanagan against the Phillies.

7. No way Jose - Jose Valverde did nothing to help his cause to regain his closer's role in the Detroit bullpen. After a 10-day layoff Valverde came on in relief for the Tigers, and in the words of Detroit manager Jim Leyland, "He wasn't terrible. He just wasn't good."  Valverde entered in the 8th with his team trailing, 6-1, 18 pitches later Valverde was done and the Tigers were down 8-1. In four postseason appearances this year, Valverde has thrown 2.2 innings allowing nine runs on 11 hits for a 30.38 ERA.

Valverde is getting no one out with 18 pitches, high in the zone, averaging 90.8 mph

8. Pablo goes all Elster on the Tigers - The only other player to hit three homers in a game at AT&T Park was the Dodgers shortstop Kevin Elster who did it on April 11, 2000 in the first game ever at Pac Bell, as it was called back then. Elster only hit 88-homers in his career (including 24 in 1996, hmm the same season Brady Anderson hit 50 homers).

9. I left my heart on the warning track in San Francisco - Only 84 homers were hit this regular season in San Francisco, the fewest of any ballpark in the majors. There have now been 28 games in which four or more homers have been hit at AT&T Park since Jhonny Peralta joined the Sandovalian procedings by hitting a two-run homer for the Tigers in the 9th. Of the 28 games, there have bee two five-homer games and one six-homer game (9/5/2000 against the Phillies, with the Giants going deep five times)

Here are the 84 AT&T Park homers by team:

Rk HR ▾
1 SFG 31
2 ATL 7
3 SDP 6
4 ARI 5
5 TEX 4
6 LAD 4
7 COL 4
8 NYM 3
9 STL 3
10 CIN 3
11 HOU 3
12 WSN 2
13 MIA 2
14 OAK 2
15 CHC 2
16 MIL 1
17 PHI 1
18 PIT 1
  TOT 84
Provided by Baseball-Reference.comView Original Table
Generated 10/25/2012.

Verlander's Postseason record (note the 0-3 in the World Series):

3 Yrs (8 Series) 6 4 .600 4.22 12 1 1 70.1 61 36 33 11 26 77 1.237
3 ALDS 3 0 1.000 2.67 5 1 1 30.1 20 9 9 2 14 39 1.121
3 ALCS 3 1 .750 4.32 4 0 0 25.0 23 12 12 5 6 22 1.160
2 WS 0 3 .000 7.20 3 0 0 15.0 18 15 12 4 6 16 1.600
Provided by Baseball-Reference.comView Original Table
Generated 10/25/2012.

Zito Paints Corners, Proves Us Wrong

Barry Zito gets hit hard by righty batters. The Cardinals' righty-heavy lineup mauls lefty pitching. Those facts set up a grim scenario for Zito last night as he sought to keep San Francisco alive in Game 5 of the NLCS. So, naturally, he worked deep into the eighth inning with nary a run allowed. Wait, what?

Zito tossed 7.2 scoreless innings, striking out six Cardinals hitters and walking none unintentionally. The lefty showed a marksman's touch, throwing 73 of 111 pitches (not including the intentional walk to Pete Kozma) for strikes. Zito threw quality strikes, as his heat map from last night attests:

Zito's pitch location against St. Louis in Game 5

Zito left just 18% of his pitches over the horizontal middle of the strike zone, compared to the 24% average for left-handed starting pitchers. Avoiding that spot is crucial, as Zito (.566 slugging percentage allowed on middle pitches) gets crushed when he catches too much of the plate.

Kudos, Barry Zito, for displaying ace-like control and command, and for reminding us why October baseball is magical, mystifying and humbling.


Zito Faces Long Odds vs. Cards' Lefty Killing Lineup

Two years ago, as the San Francisco Giants captured a World Series title, Barry Zito was baseball's equivalent of a healthy scratch. The lefty became a $20 million cheerleader after manager Bruce Bochy left him off the playoff roster. Tonight, however, Zito is tasked with saving the Giants' season in Game 5 of the NLCS. Considering Zito's major platoon split and the Cardinals' lefty-killing lineup, chances are St. Louis will crack open the bubbly.

Zito has been stellar against left-handed hitters this season, holding them to a .299 slugging percentage. That's far below the .378 average for lefty starters against lefty hitters. But righties are a different story:

Zito's slugging percentage by pitch location vs. righty hitters in 2012

Righties are slugging .468 against Zito, about 50 points above the MLB average for lefty starters against righty batters. The only qualified lefty starters with a higher opponent slugging percentage against righties are Randy Wolf, Joe Saunders, Bruce Chen, Derek Holland, J.A. Happ and Clayton Richard.

So, Zito gets smoked by righty hitters. What's even worse for the Giants is the Cardinals' lefty-thumping prowess. St. Louis' righty hitters are slugging .477 against lefty pitchers this season, ranking behind just the Milwaukee Brewers (.482) among all clubs. Allen Craig (.630 slugging percentage vs. lefties), Matt Holliday, Yadier Molina (.613 each) and Carlos Beltran (.500) have inflicted the most pain on southpaws.

Good luck, Barry. You'll need it.