Earlier today, the Boston Red Sox clobbered the San Francisco Giants 12-1. With Chad Gaudin going on the disabled list, Barry Zito was scheduled to start for possibly the very last time at At&t park. Zito lasted only 3.2 innings. Giving up 7 hits, 6 earned runs, and 2 walks. The Giants hoped Zito would retain his 2012 form but is falling short of expectations, much like the reigning world champs. The next scheduled start for that rotation spot is in Colorado. Many believe Michael Kickham, Guillermo Moscoso, or possibly a September call up could make the start against the Rockies.
Barry Zito’s journey has been filled with success and failure. He established himself as a dominate left hander across the Bay Bridge in Oakland. For seven years, Zito was the ace of the staff. Compiling a 102-63 record with an overall ERA of 3.55. Also, he won a Cy Young award in 2002 when he finished with a 23-5 record, 229 innings pitched and an ERA of 2.75. Zito’s rookie season was the only year he failed to throw more than 200 innings. After reaching free agency, Barry Zito signed a lucrative 7 year contract worth $126 million dollars, the largest contract given to a pitcher at the time.
Once Barry Zito came to San Francisco in 2007, his numbers dipped. For the first time since 2000, he failed to pitch more than 200 innings. Zito, also for the first time, finished the season with a losing record of 11-13. As each year passed by, he seemed to be declining. His fastball velocity dropped dramatically. Forcing him to change his thought process and at times, his mechanics. As well as dealing with injuries and setbacks during the 2011 season. Zito’s best season came in 2012, when he finished with 199 innings pitched, 15-8 overall record, and a 4.15 ERA. His biggest contribution was in the postseason. During the NLCS, he pitched 7 strong innings against a powerful St. Louis Cardinals’ line up, while only allowing six hits. In game one of the World Series, Zito pitched 5 innings of one run ball, giving San Francisco a much needed victory.
Throughout the seven years with the Giants organization, Barry Zito has failed to live up to expectations. As a passionate die hard fan, I have had an emotional roller coaster ride with Zito. During his low points, it was hard not to get upset. It got to the point where you expected a bad outing before he even took the mound. In 2010, San Francisco left him off of the postseason roster, solidifying the notion that he was a bust. The media and fan base turned on Zito, pleading the Giants to designate him. I will confidently tell you, I was one of those voices. During the 2012 NLCS, facing elimination, our last hope lied with Zito. After years of let downs and disappointments, the fan base rallied around him. Before game five, #RallyZito was the battle cry throughout the social media world, trending worldwide on Twitter and Instagram. That game, which I hold closest to my heart, was something special. As if in way to make up for those disappointments, Zito turned in his best outing since joining San Francisco. Even though saving the Giants from elimination and performing almost herculean in the postseason, it’s still just one season. It’s safe to say that this is the end of the Barry Zito era in San Francisco. Despite the contract and the money, #Rallyzito will go down as an important chapter in the rich and legendary history of the Giants.