It was the end of another ‘Barry era’ Wednesday night at AT&T Park as Barry Zito pitched his last game in a Giants jersey.
That did not stop the 126 million dollar man from having an impressive outing in his swan song, throwing five innings while allowing just one earned run to pick up his first win since May 30.
“It’s my last time in a Giants uniform,” the lefty said after the game, “I definitely wanted to end it in style.”
The San Francisco batters wanted to help Zito end his tenure with the team in style as well, jumping out to a 3-0 lead on a Tony Abreu bases-clearing triple in the second inning en route to a 6-4 victory over the Dodgers.
The southpaw was angry after being pulled from the game in the bottom of the fifth inning for a pinch hitter, assaulting a water cooler in the dugout after he learned so.
“I was frustrated. I felt great out there. I wanted to keep going, I wanted to throw a complete game,” Zito said.
His manager had other thoughts.
“I’ll be honest, we were thinking of winning the game,” Bruce Bochy said. “It wasn’t a situation where you’re thinking about a curtain call. You’re doing all you can to win.”
It was a curious call from the skipper in front of the fans that have supported Zito through thick (beating Justin Verlander in the World Series in 2012) and thin (being dropped from the starting rotation for mop-up duty in the bullpen recently). The Dodgers had locked up the NL west over the weekend, and the Giants had long ago been eliminated from playoff contention, so what would be the harm in another at bat or partial inning pitched to let the crowd show their appreciation with a proper exit?
That did not stop the consummate pro from enjoying his final outing with the club in afterthought.
“To be able to get this one against the Dodgers and do it at home and come out and see the fans one more time, it’s very special,” Zito said.
“There are not a lot of chances for closure in sports,” Zito added. “There are never really goodbyes.”
And so as his days donning the black and orange came to an end, the emotions of the once highest-paid pitcher in MLB history’s seven years with the club set in.
“I knew it was going to be a heck of a ride, on the field and off. It’s certainly been that for me. I’ve been through some ups and downs to say the least. On the field and off the field a lot of things happened those years: I got married, I became a Christian, lost both of my parents, just so much. On the field, I obviously had some lows there for a while, and then this year. The World Series in 2012 for me was such an incredible experience, I’m just so grateful I got to experience that, and help bring it home for San Francisco,” said Zito.
As for what’s next for Zito: “I’m going to get on a surfboard, that’s something that I’ve missed.”