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Barry Zito pitches 30-foot curveball (Video)

Add this one to the blooper reel. Barry Zito reached back to throw a curveball to Carlos Quentin in the bottom of the second between the Giants and Padres on Saturday, but the southpaw lost his grip. The ball went flying into the air and only went about halfway to home.

Zito, who’s sporting a 4.42 ERA this season, didn’t seem at all amused. I’d say that pitch pretty well encapsulates his disappointing career with the Giants. For what it’s worth, Zito gave up 4 runs over 4 innings in the Giants’ 8-7 win.

Pictures: Barry Zito Mustache Helping Him Recover Faster

By now you have probably heard that Barry Zito was recently in a car accident. The Giants big-money pitcher has been dealing with a tight neck for a few days, but he says he is ready to make his scheduled start Sunday night after sticking to a strict treatment regimen.  Likely story, but I like to think it’s because he took a page out of the Cardinals 2008 pitching staff’s book.  Call it that, or call it channeling his inner Jason Giambi.  The handle bars are missing, but call it pulling a John Axford if you so please.  Whatever the case, I think it’s obvious Barry Zito’s mustache has helped him heal.

Zito says he is making his scheduled start because he can pitch through the tightness and would rather not screw up the Giants rotation this early in the year.  In reality, he doesn’t want to reveal his secret.  Believe me — the stache is the key.

Barry Zito’s Team Attitude Was Critical to Giants’ World Series Run

Opening day for the 2011 Major League Baseball season is a week away, and this year’s defending champions are the San Francisco Giants, much to the surprise of many people who follow baseball. The Giants won last year’s World Series with incredible starting pitching, a dependable, shut-down bullpen anchored by an eccentric closer, timely hitting with cagey and hungry veteran players, and the emergence of a franchise catcher who will anchor the team for years to come. But there is one more factor that played into the Giant’s success last season. Barry Zito.

Barry Zito did not record one win, get one out, or even throw one strike last post season. He wasn’t even on the active post-season roster. But the southpaw’s contribution went beyond the line score because of his professionalism and understanding of the bigger picture and how the pieces fit into the Giants championship puzzle.

Last season, Barry Zito began the year looking like the pitcher who won the 2002 Cy Young Award as he started out 6-0 with his curveball snapping and fooling hitters, a renewed explosiveness and command with the fastball, and deception and control with his changeup. However, Zito had an early flame out, finishing the season 1-8 in his last 11 games with a 6.66 ERA. His 1.79 strikeouts-to-walks ratio was 80th of 92 qualifiers, and he finished with fewer than 10 wins for the first time since his rookie season and a higher ERA than his 2009 season, all while making $18.5 million. Zito’s poor performance, which was capped off by a three inning outing in the last series against the Padres where he walked two batters with the bases loaded in the first inning, resulted in him getting booed off the field.

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Giants Completely Mishandling Barry Zito

Barry ZitoSure it would be funny to make some crack about Barry Zito being the most expensive long reliever in history, but that would be trite. I don’t feel like piling onto Barry even though people say it’s hard to sympathize with a man making $126 million. He signed the contract, he made the choice, he has to deal with the pressure, should we all be so unfortunate. But I think there are a few problems here that the Giants are making to magnify the situation rather than ameliorate it. All parties want Zito to be pitching well and starting every fifth day — that’s how both sides would win (though one could argue Barry’s already won). Unfortunately what the Giants are doing is only compounding the problem.

Why would you send Barry Zito to the bullpen? What good does that do? Right now this is a problem you have for nearly the next six years. The only way for him to come close to earning his money is by being in the rotation. How does sticking him in the bullpen help you? If you don’t think he’s any good, then he’s going to suck regardless of when you pitch him — 1st inning or 6th inning. Are you demoting him because he’s 0-6 and you’re a results-oriented numbers person? Well maybe if he had some defense behind him (did you see how many balls they botched on Sunday or how many unearned runs he’s given up?) or some hitting, then he’d have a win or two. At 1-4, he’s not pitching well, but he’s not an embarrassing 0-6. Are you demoting him because he can’t throw very hard and he’s getting smacked around? Did you not see his numbers in ’04 and ’06 in Oakland? Did you forget what you were buying?

If anything, San Francisco should be mad at themselves for spending $126 million on a Cy Young Award won in ’02 and the dream that that would be replicated five and six years later. Instead they have what Barry was after that point — a slightly better than .500 pitcher who doesn’t miss a start. Well now he’s become a slightly below .500 pitcher and you’re making him miss a start. What he does best — and what you paid for — is a guy who eats innings. Now you’re taking that opportunity away from him. Burying Barry in the bullpen won’t hide the problem, it will just pile onto the embarrassment that’s already been created.