Barry Zito had an awesome April going 4-0 with 1.53 ERA; he followed that up with respectable (but not great) May through July. Instead of the punching bag that was an easy target he was a valuable member of the Giants pitching staff, lately not so much.
In August like the rest of the team he tanked and his first start in September was more of the same.
So what's changed?
The biggest change from the start of the season to now is his HR rate.
Zito's HR/FB rate and HR/9 have increased each month and that really goes a long in explaining why he hasn't been the same pitcher. His career rate for HR/FB is 8.6% (8.5 with Giants) which hopefully he returns toward.
The other factor that has really hurt Zito last month (and his one start this month) is that he has had a really high number of balls put in play fall for hits. Zito has shown an ability to have a below average BABIP with a career number of .276 (.289 with Giants) and last month he teams got hits at a .359 pace on balls in play. Hopefully this is another number that reverts back towards the career average.
When you look at the Zito's other numbers there isn't too much out there that scares you or explains why he hasn't been sharp his last few outings. His xFIP has remained pretty constant all season even through the recent rough patch. Hopefully the bad starts are just random bad luck and we can see that April Barry again.
Just keep the ball in the damn park is all we ask as we turn our lonely eyes to you.
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