ST. LOUIS — Barry Zito earned his $126 million contract the moment the San Francisco Giants offered it to him the winter before the 2007 season. No matter what happens until the deal expires after next season, the money is Zito's and he can't be made to give it back.
And yet, everyone might feel a little better about the arrangement were Zito to help prevent the St. Louis Cardinals from clinching a World Series berth by helping win Game 5 of the NLCS on Friday night. He might be up to it, too. Zito's results have been better — or they've seemed better — in the later part of this season. He finished with a 15-8 record, which just looks better, and the Giants have won his past 12 starts, going back to Aug. 2.
In the regular season, his ERA in that span was 3.92 — and he didn't pitch particularly well against Cincinnati in the division series round — so it's not all Barry. It's also run support, which Giants hitters will need to give against Cardinals right-hander Lance Lynn. But the Giants at least have confidence in Zito, and that wasn't the case in 2010 when he was omitted from the World Series roster. The perception change is huge.Read More »from Giants send Barry Zito to mound with season hanging in balance