Sticking with the same 25-man roster they used in both the NLDS and NLCS, the Giants will not be adding Barry Zito to the pitching staff for the World Series.
There was some speculation that Zito could be added to the World Series roster in place of reliever Guillermo Mota, who went unused in the first two rounds, but apparently manager Bruce Bochy thinks a superfluous right-handed middle reliever is more useful than the veteran left-hander who made $18.5 million this season as part of a seven-year, $126 million deal that runs through 2013.
And it’s tough to blame him.
Zito put together a strong first half, going 8-4 with a 3.51 ERA, but fell apart down the stretch with a 1-8 record and 6.80 ERA in his final 10 outings. He also hasn’t pitched since October 2 and Madison Bumgarner has clearly emerged as the Giants’ fourth starter, so aside from perhaps making Zito feel better about himself or making the $126 million seem like slightly less of a disaster there was no real reason to add him.
The World Series is often played in near winter-like conditions. The 2008 Series was interrupted by a snowy, wintry mix. The 2012 World Series games in Detroit dipped into the 20s. It’s not uncommon to see players wearing balaclavas and other winter gear during the so-called “Fall Classic.”
Not this year, though. Indeed, this year we’re likely to see record high temperatures for Games 1 and 2 at Dodger Stadium.
As of this moment, WeatherUnderground.com forecasts a high in Los Angeles of 101 degrees for today’s World Series Media Day and highs of 102 and 98 for Games 1 and 2, respectively. First pitch for both games is just after 5PM Pacific time, when the sun will still be blazing. The sun will set about an hour or so in to the game which should cool things off somewhat, but the heat will definitely impact pregame workouts and the early innings. Fans showing up three or more hours before first pitch will do well to prepare themselves for the elements.
The hottest World Series game on record came in Phoenix for Game 1 in 2001 when the mercury stood at 94 degrees at game time. That year Major League Baseball unwisely demanded that the Chase Field roof be left open for the Diamondbacks-Yankees tilt. If there is a Game 6 and/or 7 things will be nicer as the long range forecast shows temperatures in the low 70s by then.
Hydrate well, Dodgers and Astros. Those of us watching from cooler temperatures and/or the comfort of our air conditioned homes will feel really bad for you.