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Giants’ rotation headed for makeover

The SportsXchange

SAN FRANCISCO -- Barry Zito looks at last season and looks at this season and doesn't see much of a difference.

But there's a world of difference.

Last year, the San Francisco Giants won his last 11 starts, including Game 5 of the National League Championship Series and Game 1 of the World Series.

This year, they've lost 10 of his past 12 starts, and Zito is 4-10 with a hefty 5.81 ERA.

"In the middle part of the year, June and July, I was probably trying too hard, putting too much pressure on myself," Zito said. "I went back and watched some of last year's playoff games, and the stuff is pretty much the same. It's about being in command of myself out there."

In Zito's latest loss, a 6-1 decision to the Rockies on Monday, he gave up homers to Colorado's Todd Helton and Charlie Blackmon, both of whom deposited curves over the wall in right field.

Zito and manager Bruce Bochy gave conflicting opinions.

Bochy: "He was pretty good against the right-handed hitters. Against the lefties, he left curveballs up and paid for it."

Zito: "I looked at the tape. Buster (Posey, the catcher,) was getting his glove down like it was going to be on the ground. It was pretty much the same pitch to both of those guys. It's one of those cases where I have to tip my cap."

Either way, the results aren't nearly as good as last year's, and it's extremely likely Zito is playing out the string as a Giant. His seven-year, $126 million contract is up after the season, and until further notice, he's certainly pitching himself off the roster.

It's possible San Francisco could skip Zito's turn this weekend, using the other starters on regular rest after Thursday's travel day. He would next be scheduled to face the Arizona Diamondbacks on Sunday, but the Giants had not yet listed the probable starter for that day Thursday.

The Giants enter Friday's series with the Diamondbacks sporting the third-highest team ERA in the National League at 4.14.

Tim Lincecum, another disappointing starter (7-13, 4.55 ERA) will also become a free agent at the end of the season and could be headed for a new destination.

With a month to go in the 2013 season, the formerly pitching-heavy Giants are already facing the potential of turning over 40 percent of their rotation for next season.
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