It would appear as though things have come full circle for Giants pitcher Barry Zito. The $126 million once had it – then lost it – now found it again – left handed hurler will get the start in game one of the World Series for the San Francisco Giants.
A Cy Young award in 2002 with Oakland was about all Barry Zito had to hang his hat on when it came to his pro baseball career, that and ample stacks of cash. But the pressure of being a man with millions and a pitcher with nothing was the catalyst for Zito’s 2012 season of redemption.
We all know the Barry Zito story – he made waves in Oakland before cashing in and coming to San Francisco. He failed to live up to the hype that had awarded him such high financial compensation, going a combined 43-61 over 5 seasons with the Giants. The last two seasons being the lowest for Zito, in 2010, as the Giants were pushing towards their first World Series Championship in 40+ years, Zito was informed he would not be on any of the Giants post season rosters. Zito would watch from the bench as the Giants claimed their title.
The 2011 season was followed by Zito making his first trip to the disabled list with a foot injury. He would lose his spot in the Giants starting rotation to longtime baseball journeyman Ryan Vogelsong, who excelled in Zito’s absence and has since become one of the biggest fan favorites in all of San Francisco.
But then came 2012, Zito returned to the Giants rotation to post numbers long thought lost., going 15-8 on the season and pitching a gem facing elimination in game 5 of the NLCS against St Louis, in which he pitched 7-2/3 shutout innings and had the twitter world trending with #RALLYZITO.
Fellow Giants pitcher Matt Cain said “What he did in St. Louis is something he needed. And something we really, really had to have.”
With the Giants pitching staff stretched thin by a 7 game NLCS, Bruce Bochy made the decision Tuesday that Zito would get the start in game one against the Detroit Tigers.
Zito said on Tuesday during World Series media day “I feel like an adult in the game now” – and he better, as he goes up arguably the best in the game with Detroit’s Justin Verlander. Who, so far this post season has been nearly untouchable.
So despite all the knockdowns in Zito’s career, it could be his rising performance this post season in which he truly finds his redemption.