In a win or go home situation, the Giants got their best starting effort from their most unlikely source and will return to AT&T Park for another do or die game on Sunday.
With the ramifications coupled with the way he threw, it was easily Barry Zito's best start of his Giants career, and he even admitted after the game it was probably his biggest start of his whole career. With a tough right-handed heavy lineup to face the Giants soft-tossing lefty, everybody was giving the Giants a slim-to-none chance of walking out of St. Louis with their season still riding, but Zito showed up Friday night ready to go. He went 7 2/3 scoreless, striking out 6 and walking just one, an intentional pass to get to Lance Lynn during a crucial spot in the 2nd. Zito did dance out of some trouble early on in the game, but what really impressed me was how he kept getting stronger later into the game. Typically with Zito, he hits a wall around the 5th or 6th inning or 90 pitch mark, but you could see the determination on his face tonight. It wasn't just his brilliant start that helped pace the Giants, he came up with a big 2-out hit on a bunt single to drive in the Giants 3rd run during that big 4th inning. It took a perfectly executed bunt, and Zito made a great decision as David Freese was playing a deep third base. I don't know if this start erases the bad years Zito's had in the Orange and Black, but what a step in the right direction!
Now, as relieved as the Giants have to be to actually be getting this series back to AT&T Park, they still have a lot of work left to do. They got a game-changing gift from the Cardinals Friday on that grounder from Pence that could have been two and instead went into center field, and that really opened the flood gates for them, but I'd like to see them start hitting with more authority. The two guys that have been really quiet this series have been Posey and Pence, granted Pence did hit that solo shot in Thursday's game, they need those two to hit with runners on base. Pablo has started to come around a bit, homering for a 2nd straight game for the Giants' fifth run, but Posey has been oblivious in this NLCS. I'm not sure if he's just tired or if he wasn't seeing the ball well in St. Louis but he looked late on a lot of balls and missed on pitches he normally drives. If the Giants can get those 4-5 guys jump started at home this weekend, their chances to win this series dramatically increase. I'm expecting a solid effort out of Vogelsong Sunday, and if they get their, I expect to see Cainer throw everything he's got out there Monday night, but it's there bats that will decide how this ends.
They've done it once already this postseason, pulling off 3 victories in a row to beat out the Reds, but if they're going to do that to St. Louis, they need to regain that home mojo. For some odd reason, the Giants have struggled at home recently, dating back to the end of the regular season, but they did play one of their better games of this postseason in game two before departing to St. Louis, and hopefully they can carry some of that over into Game 6
Read The Full Article: