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Zito Comes Within 6 Outs of No-No

 

Barry Zito almost recorded the first no-hitter since 2004

Since becoming a member of the Oakland Athletics, Barry Zito has been a terrific starting pitcher, and very much the ace of the A’s pitching staff.  Before 2005, he was teamed with Tim Hudson and Mark Mulder, in the A’s amazing 1-2-3 starting rotation punch.  Then GM Billy Beane traded Mark Mulder and Tim Hudson for several top prospects, leaving Zito as the lone member of the trio to remain in an Oakland uniform.  There were many questions asked about how the A’s would survive without their other two aces, and most of those questions were answered by new A’s starters Danny Haren and Rich Harden.  The rest have been answered and will never be asked again, because of how well Barry Zito has pitched these last two seasons — he has also fared far better than his former teammates, Tim Hudson in Atlanta, and Mark Mulder in St. Louis. 

Today’s nearly perfect outing against the high-powered offense of the Texas Rangers showed why Barry Zito is such a great pitcher.  Through seven innings, Barry Zito allowed just one Rangers hitter to reach base, and he (Mark DeRosa) reached base via walks.  In other words, Zito carried a no-hitter into the 8th inning, the closest anyone has come to throwing a no-no in a couple of seasons. 

The first hit Zito allowed was to Mark DeRosa, who singled to lead-off the 8th inning.  Zito however put a quick end to the Rangers 8th inning, and was cruising, despite losing his bid for a no-hitter.  In the 9th, Zito stumbled, and he was charged with 3 runs (1 earned), which Texas scored via 3 hits, a walk, and a throwing error charged to Zito.  By then however, those 3 runs were meaningless, as the Athletics prevailed 9-3. 

Zito is now near the top of the MLB in wins, with 14, and his 3.64ERA is also very solid.  He is a workhorse starting pitcher who can eat up innings, while producing wins for his team, which is why Barry Zito is one of the most valuable pitchers in baseball.  After the end of this season, Zito will be one of the most sought after free agents on the market, but meanwhile, he’s in Oakland, to help guide the A’s to a world championship. 

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