Marty Lurie Talks San Francisco Giants Baseball

Zito Might Be The Toughest Free Agent To Replace

Barry Zito might be the toughest to replace of all the free agents who have left the A’s over the years.

When Zito is on he pitches with great confidence

You can see that look on Zito’s face every time he faces a team in the AL West. Zito pitches against the divison like they are little leaguers. Zito is 40-13 lifetime vs. the West.

The Mariners haven’t hit Zito in years. The Rangers are Zito’s cousins. The Angels consistently flail harmlessly at Zito’s offerings.

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Zito is the ace of the Oakland staff, leading the way when the A’s play the AL West.

Here’s why the A’s are in first place in the West:

They beat the Mariners like a drum.

The A’s and Angels play low scoring one run games on a routine basis. The Angels attack is so weak, if the Halos get a base runner they consider that a big inning.

The A’s pitching staff has more depth than the Angels. Mike Scioscia only has confidence in Scott Shields and Frankie Rodriguez in the late innings. Ken Macha has five relief pitchers to choose from after the fifth inning.

Defense wins tight games. The A’s play defense, the Angels don’t.

Texas has one pitcher that gives the A’s a rough time: Kevin Millwood.

Caveat: Texas can score runs in bunches. The Rangers are still the most dangerous team in the division.

How important is Zito to the A’s? Dan Haren and Joe Blanton are just a combined 15-14 pitching within the division.

Whenever the Angels, Rangers, or Mariners get close to the A’s in the standings, the A’s meet them in a series and order is quickly restored.

Winning the home run derby at the all star game in Detroit was the worst thing that ever happened to Bobby Abreu. The newest Yankee is a good hitter, just not a big time slugger. Abreu knows the strike zone. Abreu will help the Yankees, but it won’t be with the long ball, it will be with solid at bats.

The Dodgers are alive in the NL West. The division looks like a repeat of last year with this years champ needing about 83 wins to make it to the playoffs.

Greg Maddux hadn’t pitched well in months before throwing six no hit innings against the Reds this week. If the future hall of famer suddenly starts baffling the hitters as a Dodger, I’d check and see if Maddux paid a visit to Gaylord Perry on his way to LA.

Why is Alfonso Soriano still a National? Unless the Nats pay about 50 million to Soriano in a multi year deal over the winter, they wasted a golden opportunity to add legitimate players to their last place team.

Give the Reds credit. With only Bronson Arroyo and Aaron Harang as solid starting pitchers, Cincinnati has rebuilt their ‘pen with closer Eddie Guardado and a cast of thousands. The Reds hit the ball with the best in the league. This strategy might work in the weak National League where 85 wins will get you a wild card berth.

Anyone concerned about the Cardinals? With another long losing streak under their belts, manager Tony La Russa should head directly to Cooperstown if his team does anything in the postseason.

Boston’s walkoff wins are exciting for the fans, but really are a sign of miserable pitching on both sides of the diamond more than anything else.

Red flag: The Yanks Randy Johnson has gone two straight starts without a recording a strike out.

If the White Sox are going to make a move on the Tigers, now’s the time. Detroit’s rookie sensation Justin Verlander will miss at least one start with a tired arm.

Scary thought: If the Giants could move Armando Benitez to Cleveland the Tribe’s pen would improve dramatically.

Remember Shea Hillenbrand said it first, “The ship is sinking” in Toronto.


1 Anonymous { 08.06.06 at 11:06 am }


I’ve been saying this for a year: the A’s should at least try to sign Zito. He’s a young veteran who has never missed a start, keeps learning, and is likely to get better.

..not that I have any illusions about whether the A’s have or will do this…

Oakland Sí

2 marty { 08.06.06 at 11:09 am }

I agree, but the reality is Zito will get a contract worth 65 million or so and the A’s won’t pay that for a pitcher. If Harden comes back healthy then with Haren and Blanton the A’s still will be OK within the division. Those three simply kill Seattle.

3 Anonymous { 08.06.06 at 11:53 am }

Zito is overrated. He doesn’t throw his curveball with enough consistency and doesn’t have good enough location with his fastball. Good hitting teams bat him around. I won’t be sad to see Zito go. I’m actually looking forward to seeing him underperform with the Yanks.
-Mike E.

4 marty { 08.06.06 at 12:15 pm }

Mike how do you account for his 40-13 record vs. the AL West?

5 Anonymous { 08.06.06 at 7:58 pm }

I’m aware that Zito’s numbers undermine my argument, Marty. I haven’t bothered to do any statistical breakdown, but look at just his last 3 years and I’m sure he is much less impressive against the AL West or in general. He doesn’t have the curveball he used to and when that isn’t going he gets beat up by good teams. Regardless of what I think, he is going to get overpaid to play somewhere.

6 Anonymous { 08.07.06 at 10:29 am }

i want to clarify. he doesn’t throw his good curveball with any consistency. the one that really drops and hitters have no chance against even if they sit on it. at best, he has it once out of every 4 to five games. most of the time his curveball doesn’t break that much at all. i’m sure this is why he developed a slider which isn’t that bad a pitch.

7 Anonymous { 08.07.06 at 4:18 pm }

Actually, Harden is part of the reason I wish the A’s would try to re-sign Zito. I’m not convinced that Harden can stay healthy as a starter for a full season. I sure hope I’m wrong.

8 Anonymous { 09.22.07 at 1:13 pm }

9 Anonymous { 09.22.07 at 1:50 pm }

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