Barry Zito, yes the Barry Zito I mentioned in the post last night, was "filthy" last night, tossing 7.2 innings of 6K/1BB shutout ball, rescuing the Giants season for one more day and sending the series back to the Bay for Ryan Vogelsong and Matt Cain to pitch games 6 and 7. I actually posted "Cy Zito" as my Facebook status last night during the second inning, and never thought it would stick. I've never thought terribly much of Zito even in his Cy young campaigns, but the results were great last night.
Zito accumulated a 13.3% whiff rate on his fastball last night, which sat in his normal 84.5 mph (maybe a mph faster - he netted 83.8 mph this season. The PITCHf/x data (courtesy of texasleaguers.com) suggests that all of his pitches showed superior movement last night, relative to his regular season data. Anecdotally, Zito had his old curveball back, which agrees with the data. I think the most interesting question that comes out of this performance is how much variability is there in pitch movement from game to game. I think most would suggest that there is a fair amount of variation, but I don't have the data in front of me to say definitively that's the case.
Whether or not we could have predicted such a performance, the Giants are going back to San Francisco with their two best pitchers in the postseason lined up thanks to Barry Zito.