Barry Zito(notes) was far from All-Star form at the beginning of the season. Since the midsummer classic, though, the former Cy Young Award winner has been a dominant force in the San Francisco Giants’ rotation.
Zito goes for his fourth straight win Friday night when the Giants make their first appearance at Citi Field against the New York Mets.
After opening the season 1-6 in his first 10 starts, Zito (8-10, 4.40 ERA) has turned his season around in his last four outings, going 3-0 with a 2.19 ERA.
“He’s been throwing better than his record indicates,” Giants manager Bruce Bochy said. “He’s been our tough-luck pitcher and he’s been exceptional this past month.”
Zito, who has received among the lowest run support in the majors at 3.15 per game, allowed two runs and three hits over six innings in Saturday’s 4-2 win over Cincinnati. It was the first time the 2002 AL Cy Young Award recipient won three straight games since May 23-June 4, 2007.
“I didn’t really feel in synch,” said Zito, 2-1 with a 4.03 ERA in four starts versus the Mets. “Sometimes you go out there and feel amazing and when you look at the results you think you should be bummed, but you don’t. This time I had to grind every pitch and we came out with the win.”
Zito last had four straight wins from May 17-June 16, 2006, when he went 6-0 with a 3.28 ERA in a seven-start stretch for Oakland.
San Francisco (62-52) batted .250 during a 2-4 homestand that ended with Wednesday’s 4-2, 10-inning victory over the Los Angeles Dodgers. The Giants left 12 runners on base before Juan Uribe(notes) hit a walk-off two-run shot to snap their three-game slide.
San Francisco, which starts an 11-game road swing, has lost four in a row and 13 of 17 visiting the Mets.
New York (53-61) returns to Citi Field for 11 games following a 2-5 trip. David Wright(notes) and Fernando Tatis(notes) had three hits apiece in a 6-4 victory over Arizona on Wednesday when the Mets scored twice off wild pitches.
“That’s what other teams do to us, take advantage of our mistakes,” Wright said.
Wright was 10 for 15 with two doubles and nine RBIs as the Mets won three of four in San Francisco in May.
Sheffield is 8 for 20 with two homers lifetime versus Zito.
After left-hander Jonathon Niese(notes) suffered a season-ending hamstring injury in a 9-0 win over St. Louis on Aug. 5, Bobby Parnell(notes) (2-4, 3.94) gets another start for the Mets for the opener of the four-game set.
With right-hander Mike Pelfrey(notes) in New York due to the birth of his first child, Parnell was on a 60-75 pitch count when made his first major league start Saturday in San Diego. He lost after yielding two runs and four hits over 2 1-3 innings.
“I wasn’t able to get it (slider) over for strikes so I had to go after them with my fastball,” Parnell said following the 3-1 loss. “I overused it.”
Parnell is 1-0 with a 9.00 ERA in two relief appearances versus San Francisco this season.