Not the two-time Cy Young Award winner.
Not the 22-year-old phenom.
Not the guy who was just rewarded with the 5-year extension.
Not what we would have expected. Not what even Zito expected, who didn't go out in the postgame interview and spout anything about how he "knew it was in there somewhere" or that he's "really been working on a couple things and it all just came together."
Zito says, "Anything is possible."
And that's pretty much how happy I was to follow this game. Zero runs. Zero walks. Two runners in scoring position. 114 pitches. 71 strikes. That's how it's done.
It wasn't even as if I was waiting for Zito to implode. The Giants were up 7-0, and even though it was Coors and the Rockies, there's just something about the Diamondbacks that make me more nervous. And it was a seven-run lead, not a six-run lead. You know how Tony LaRussa also played to the five-run lead? It was like that. Six runs? A chip-away comeback wouldn't surprise me. Seven runs? Not gonna happen.
So then after the game I heard all of the commotion and saw all the factoids. The last time Barry Zito threw a shutout, I was in 8th grade. I was 14 years old, trying to throw that curveball from the right side in Pony Baseball. That was 2003. That was a long time ago.
Zito improves to 113-6 ALL-TIME with 4+ runs of support. His record with the Giants since he signed his deal in 2007? 44-61. You know what that means? The Giants don't score! And that's why Zito's record has been bad! Also, that he has a tendency to pitch really, really badly sometimes.
Anyway, what can we take from this game? I mean, it's only
Spring Training the first week of the season. Am I expecting Zito to crash and burn and give up 11 runs in two innings next start? No. But I'm also not expecting a return to 2002. I've moved past the point that Barry Zito can tease me into thinking he can dominate the league again. But he's not Pat Misch. Or Ryan Sadowski. And that's fine with me.
Instead, here's my letter:
Yesterday was really nice. It would be great if you could do that again like, once every five starts. I'd be OK with that. If you're that Zito 20% of the time, it'll be a good year. Also, no pressure.
Hope that wasn't all a big joke!