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Barry Zito, come on down!

Sep 16, 2012, 6:07 PM EDT

Barry Zito Getty Images

Barry Zito was left off the postseason roster all three series for the 2010 world champion Giants. This year, signs point to him being a very important player if the Giants are going to make a run into October.

Former NL ERA leader Ryan Vogelsong gave up seven runs — six earned — in 3 1/3 innings versus the Diamondbacks on Sunday. He’s now allowed 34 earned runs in 29 2/3 innings in his last seven starts, taking his ERA from 2.27 to 3.67 for the season.

Now, that’s still better than Zito’s 4.21 mark. But barring a massive rebound these next two weeks, the Giants aren’t going to have any choice but to pick Zito over Vogelsong next month. The Giants have won Zito’s last eight starts, and while the well-compensated left-hander hasn’t been great in all of them, he has performed very well in holding the Dodgers and Diamondbacks to a combined one run in 13 innings his last two times out. Overall, he has a 4.06 ERA during the streak.

In truth, even though the Giants are going to cruise to an NL West title, they can’t be feeling all that good about things right now. Madison Bumgarner has struggled in his last four starts, and Matt Cain hasn’t been at his sharpest either. While Tim Lincecum is throwing better, it’s come with a lot of walks. It’s the offense that’s been carrying the load of late: the Giants rank third in the NL in runs scored and ninth in runs allowed since the All-Star break.

  1. dondada10 - Sep 16, 2012 at 7:41 PM

    I’m always quick to make a Brian Sabean joke, but the Giants seem to be in the playoffs more often than not.

    • mazblast - Sep 16, 2012 at 9:31 PM

      You can’t argue with results. For example, I’m a big Billy Beane detractor, as I find him relentlessly self-promoting and poor-mouthing at the same time. Somehow he has the A’s in the fight this year, much to everyone’s surprise. Even Ned Colletti has found some magic this season with the Dodgers. Sabean is the same way year after year–no love, little respect, always has his team contending if not always in the playoffs.

      As that overrated blowhard Bill Parcells said years ago, “You are what your record says you are.”

    • hackerjay - Sep 17, 2012 at 12:59 AM

      It might seem like the Giants are in the playoffs more often then not, but in reality in Sabean’s tenure they have made it six times counting this year, and they’ve missed the playoffs 10 times. How quickly people forget 2004-2009.

      I do think that Sabean is very good at developing pitching, but I do think that he’s not that great at major league evaluation.

      • gogigantos - Sep 17, 2012 at 1:29 PM

        ‘Tis sometimes better to be lucky than good. I don’t think Sabe’s M.O. has changed. He got lucky when Jeff Kent turned into gold when he traded Matt Williams away, telling us all that he wasn’t an idiot. There have been long horrid dry spells and this pitching staff went long unsupported. Man o Man, this recent run ain’t bad at all, lucky to along for the ride we are, and so is he.

  2. hittfamily - Sep 16, 2012 at 10:56 PM

    I read an article the other day that said Posey doesn’t usually catch Zito, and usually Posey plays first. Seeing that Buster caught him the other day when he threw a shutout, I would bet that Bochey wanted to get the 2 some experience together before the playoffs. If my theory is correct, then that means Zito is on the roster come NLDS

    The article also said that Posey and Zito have had “off field problems” in the past. Anyone know anything about it? I looked and looked, and found nothing.

  3. norcaldeportes - Sep 17, 2012 at 1:21 AM

    Although they haven’t been as sharp as we’ve come to expect, I’d still take Cain, Lincecum & Bumgarner (with Zito as a 4th or long reliever if they need him) against any other 3 man rotation in the NL.

    • franklb - Sep 17, 2012 at 8:55 AM

      Two words: Washington Nationals.

      • gogigantos - Sep 17, 2012 at 1:31 PM

        I do hope it comes to that, really really hope it comes to that. Two rotations and teams that might battle epic for it all. I hope it comes to that.

  4. norcaldeportes - Sep 18, 2012 at 1:13 PM

    I hope it does come down to Nats v. Giants. On paper, Gio Gonzalez (2.95 era) & Cain (2.93 era) are a toss up. Strasburg (3.16 era) & Bumgarner (3.26 era) are a toss up. The major edge would go to Zimmerman (3.01 era) over Lincecum (5.09 era). But Lincecum is not someone I would bet against, and he has been good his last few starts when the Giants have needed him most. Not to mention, the Giants staff has the playoff experience. I stand by my comment, I’d take Lincecum, Cain & Bumgarner over anyone other 3-man playoff rotation in the NL.

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