Zito brings experience to Giants' must-win Game 5
Left-hander aims to shake off subpar NLDS start, continue success vs. Cardinals
ST. LOUIS -- Barry Zito wasn't good enough to participate in the Giants' run to the 2010 World Series championship. Now it's up to him to keep the '12 Fall Classic in their sights.Two years ago, following a disappointing 9-14 regular season, Zito was left off San Francisco's roster for all three steps of the glory road. On Friday night (5 p.m. PT on FOX), with the Giants' backs against the wall of a 3-to-1 deficit, the ball is placed in his hand to extend the National League Championship Series and get it back to San Francisco.
It is an experienced postseason hand, 2010 notwithstanding. Zito has eight playoff starts, with a sharp 3.45 ERA, on his resume. And he dealt with an elimination game as recently as a week ago, against the Reds in the NL Division Series."It was an elimination game the last time I pitched," Zito said. "So it's not like it will be a new experience." He plans to make it a better experience, personally speaking. The Giants obviously won that Game 4 of the NLDS, but Zito had relatively little to do with it, getting only eight outs in his start. Zito now hopes to add another chapter to his otherwise convincing comeback story.
Tale of the Tape: Game 5
|2012 regular season|
|Overall: 32 GS, 15-8, 4.15 ERA, 70 BB, 114 K||Overall: 29 GS, 18-7, 3.78 ERA, 64 BB, 180 K|
|Key stat: Zito lasted only 2 2/3 innings in his first start this postseason, allowing two runs on four hits.||Key stat: Lynn went 3 2/3 innings in his Game 1 start, allowing four runs on five hits.|
|At Busch Stadium|
|2012: 1 GS, 1-0, 2.70 ERA
Career: 4 GS, 1-3, 8.20 ERA
| 2012: 12 GS, 9-4, 3.28 ERA
Career: 13 GS, 9-5, 3.13 ERA
|Against this opponent|
|2012: 1 GS, 1-0. 2.70 ERA
Career: 9 GS, 2-6, 4.89 ERA
|2012: 1 GS, 0-1, 6.00 ERA
Career: 2 GS, 0-2, 7.15 ERA
|Loves to face: Carlos Beltran: 10-for-44, 9 K
Hates to face: Allen Craig: 4-for-10, 1 2B, 3 HR, 4 RBIs
|Loves to face: Marco Scutaro: 2-for-8
Hates to face: Hunter Pence: 3-for-8
|Why he'll win: Zito won his only start against the Cardinals this season, allowing only two homers to Allen Craig and six other hits in 6 2/3 innings.||Why he'll win: Lynn was significantly better at Busch Stadium this season than on the road, posting a 9-4 record and 3.28 ERA at home.|
|Pitcher beware: After ending the regular season with five wins in as many starts, Zito walked four batters and allowed four hits and two runs in 2 2/3 innings in NLDS Game 4.||Pitcher beware: In his Game 1 Start, Lynn's pitch count rose quickly. He finished with 85 pitches in those 3 2/3 innings and allowed two extra-base hits.|
|Bottom line: After being considered for the Game 4 start that went to Tim Lincecum, Zito gets his second postseason outing of 2012 at a pivotal juncture in the series.||Bottom line: Lynn didn't allow the Giants to break through until the fourth inning in Game 1. If he can recapture that early-game brilliance, the Cards will be in solid shape.|
"My wife is from two hours south of here," said Zito, "and we get a lot of the family come up."
Tom Singer is a reporter for MLB.com and writes an MLBlog Change for a Nickel. He can also be found on Twitter @Tom_Singer. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.