The San Francisco Giants have experienced, what I would like to call, an extremely unique set of circumstances so far this season. Their two-time Cy Young award winner, Tim Lincecum, has seemingly fallen off his high horse and hasn't really had too many solid outings so far this year. He's 2-8 with a 6.19 ERA and has given up a league high 53 runs - after giving up just 66 runs throughout 2011.
Along with Lincecum's faltering, the Giants have received some unexpected help from Barry Zito, their perennial disappointment since he signed a seven-year, $126 million contract prior to the 2007 season. Since joining the team - and prior to 2012 - Zito has a 43-61 record coupled with a 4.55 ERA. Before facing off with the Los Angeles Angels on June 19 Zito had fared better than most expected with a 5-4 record and a 3.61 ERA.
Zito already had a rough time in his two starts prior to facing the Angels and apparently being home in Southern California did nothing to help. I watched Zito give up hit after hit and slowly turn back into the Barry Zito of old - a transformation helped by his recent outing as well. He was having trouble finding the inner half of the plate against right-handed hitting, often leaving it on the outer half of the plate and allowing hitters to get extended. If the home run from Albert Pujols wasn't a warning sign of things to come, then I don't know what was.
The Angels were a hot team before the Giants came into town and San Francisco cooled them off by winning game one of the series. However, game two would prove to show exactly just how red hot the Angels still were. Zito would last only 3.1 innings and give up eight earned runs during that short span. At one point it looked as if the Giants may make their way back into the ball game, but the Angels continued to pour it on, eventually ending the game by a final score of 12-5.
I'm hoping that Zito is just having some mechanical troubles that can be corrected much faster than it is taking Lincecum to get right. Then again, perhaps Zito returning to his former self will mean that it is only a matter of time before Lincecum begins to feel like himself again. In all, the whole "Barry Zito is doing well," thing lasted for a lot longer than I expected it to.
Food for thought: Has Zito already surpassed your expectations you had for him before the season started? Does his regression mid-season surprise you to any extent or was it just a matter of time before he began to decline?
David is co-founder of wrapupp sports blog where fresh content is posted daily and present sports blogs and sports opinions - all with a West Coast bias. Growing up in the Bay Area, David is a huge supporter of all the local sports teams; the Giants, Athletics, Warriors, Sharks, 49ers, and Raiders. His one fault, admittedly, as many of his friends and family would say, is his love for the Los Angeles Lakers. Growing up, Magic Johnson was his favorite basketball player and he fell in love with the team. He chalks it up to, "Not knowing any better". Now his love for sports has turned just as academic as it is intuitive and he follows most all sports all over the nation.
You can follow David on Twitter: @officialwrapupp
Baseball-Reference.com. Barry Zito. MLB 2012.
Baseball-Reference.com. Tim Lincecum. MLB 2012.
MLB.com. Giants and Angels game recap. MLB 2012.
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