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Barry Zito improves to 5-0 with a 1.49 ERA

May 6, 2010, 9:30 AM EDT

Barry Zito’s resurgence continued Wednesday, as he took a shutout into the eighth inning against the Marlins. Four straight singles followed to score a run and knock him from the game with the bases loaded, no outs, and Hanley Ramirez at the plate, but Sergio Romo wriggled out of Zito’s jam.
Not only is Zito now 5-0 with a 1.49 ERA this season, he has a 2.38 ERA in 21 starts dating back to last year’s All-Star break. What makes that stretch so improbable is that Zito went into the break at 24-36 with a 4.47 ERA through his first 77 starts for the Giants.
His fastball hasn’t improved any from his usual mid-80s velocity, but Zito’s curveball and changeup are back to being weapons and in turn have made his fastball tougher to tee off on. I’m still very skeptical, but with matchups against the Astros and Padres he’s unlikely to turn into a pumpkin next week.
If nothing else at least the Giants have a bit less regret about still owing Zito another $65 million after 2010.

  1. APBA Guy - May 6, 2010 at 12:33 PM

    No A’s on TV yesterday, but I did watch Zito (ex-A) looking very sharp again. He really has NL batters confused. This is not the Zito they are used to. Especially with the curve, which is sharp and thrown for strikes. The other thing, his fastball has a little cut which runs in on right handers. And so far I haven’t seen him throw a strike with it. But in evidence of the NL being the AAAA league, the hitters I’ve seen in the last two starts continue to swing at the pitch either in on their hands or off the plate away.
    Joe Maddon was talking about the Rays’ hitters watching film of the opposing pitcher before each game, talking among themselves, sharpening their approach. Tony Gwynn used to watch tons of film. You wonder if that hasn’t gone out of fashion in the NL.
    Or maybe Zito really is that sharp right now.

  2. Jeezy - May 6, 2010 at 1:24 PM

    With all the press buzz on Zito’s resurgence, there’s a glaring oversight in the coverage. With all his soft stuff benefitting from renewed pinpoint control, the big difference maker few have accurately noted is that he has very successfully incorporated a beastly lil slider now. In the past, hitters could just sit on the subpar changeup or middling fastball depending on the count, and just take the vicous curveball too loopy for umps to call as a strike consistently. Now, that slider has bridged the gap in soft stuff, getting Zeets ahead in a ton more counts as hitters get jammed or watch it nibble the low corners. This has the domino effect of giving Zito’s movement added cred across the board, and we’re seeing umps call his curve as strikes way more too.

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