Barry Zito will not be in Giants' rotation for NLDS and could be left off the playoff roster

4 Comments

Barry Zito was fantastic early on this season, going 5-0 with a 1.49 ERA through six starts, and he had an ERA under 3.50 as recently as mid-August, but the veteran left-hander went 1-8 with a 6.66 ERA in his final 11 starts and now the Giants have decided to bump him from the playoff rotation.
Tim Lincecum will start Game 1, followed by Matt Cain in Game 2 and Jonathan Sanchez in Game 3. Bruce Bochy said today that he’s undecided about who would get the Game 4 call, but the options don’t include Zito. Instead, it’ll either be rookie Madison Bumgarner or Lincecum coming back on short rest.
Normally that would mean a trip to the bullpen for Zito, but with Jeremy Affeldt, Dan Runzler, and Javier Lopez the Giants aren’t exactly short on left-handed relief options. In other words, the $126 million man could be left off the postseason roster entirely for the first round.

Aaron Judge set a new postseason strikeout record

Getty Images
Leave a comment

For a few days, it looked like Aaron Judge was finally hitting his stride in the postseason. He was still striking out at a regular clip, piling more and more strikeouts atop the 16 he racked up in the Division Series, but he was mashing, too. He engineered a three-run homer during Game 3 of the Championship Series, followed by another blast and game-tying double in Game 4. His one-out double helped pad a five-run lead in Game 5, while his 425-footer off of Brad Peacock barely made a dent during a 7-1 loss in Game 6. And then Lance McCullers‘ curveball found and fooled him, as it did five of the 14 batters it met in Game 7:

The strikeout was Judge’s first of the evening and 27th since the start of the playoffs. No other major league batter has racked up that many strikeouts in a single postseason, though Alfonso Soriano’s 26-strikeout record in 2003 comes the closest. Within that record, Judge also collected three golden sombreros (four strikeouts in a single game), narrowly avoiding the dreaded platinum sombrero (five strikeouts in a single game).

It’s an unfortunate footnote to a spectacular year for the rookie outfielder, who decimated the competition with 52 home runs and 8.2 fWAR during the regular season and was a pivotal part of the Yankees’ playoff run. Thankfully, the image of McCullers’ curveball darting just under Judge’s bat won’t be the image that sticks with us for years to come. Instead, it’ll look something like this: