Madison Bumgarner is one strike out short of a 200 K season, but much to the chagrin of many fans, Bumgarner will not take the mound tonight in San Francisco’s final series of the season versus the LA Dodgers. Instead, Barry Zito will take the mound tonight in his final start in Giants uniform, versus Ricky Nolasco.
Many baseball fans have mixed feelings about this switch, with long time fans grateful to have one last chance to cheer on Zeets at home once again. Zito thrives at AT&T Park, and after seven torturous years with the San Francisco Giants, many fans are sad to see him go. It’s a bitter sweet parting, but at least fans have the memories of 2010 and 2012 seasons which cannot overshadow the nightmares of the 2013 season.
Zito has pitched three complete games and one shutout in his seven years with the Giants, compared to seven complete games and four shutouts in his seven years in Oakland with the A’s. Of the 10,943 batters he has faced in fourteen years, he has struck out 1,881. Zito is also not afraid to swing the bat, and is quite skilled at bunting. He will set toe to the rubber tonight with an ERA of 5.41 and a 1.74 WHIP in 128 innings to date this season.
There is speculation about the further rotation post-Zito in the starting lineup, and this summer has definitely given fans a chance to preview the talent up and coming within the Giants organization. Both Chad Gaudin, Mike Kickham, and Yusmerio Petit have each had their try at a start this season, with varying experiences throughout. The 40 man roster this September has also brought up the talented Heath Hembree, who was making the ladies swoon even before the Rookie Naked Cowboy extravaganza in New York.
No doubt will Barry Zito receive a standing ovation tonight during the game, and he absolutely deserves it. Well respected both on and off the field, Barry Zito will enter the field as a fan favorite, with fans everywhere crossing their fingers he goes out with a BANG and takes back a win tomorrow night.
Good Luck Barry, and thank you, for the tears, the cheers, and 2012.
Editor’s Note: The above is a guest post by Jamie Neckles, who will soon be part of the ATF Family! Follow her on Twitter: @jnsparky