Originally posted on Pro Sports Daily  |  Last updated 10/23/12
SAN FRANCISCO -- Barry Zito was a bystander two years ago when the Giants made history by winning its first World Series since moving to San Francisco from New York in 1958. Wednesday night, the left-hander will be the Giants' starting pitcher when they open the World Series against the Detroit Tigers and ace Justin Verlander at 8:07 p.m. ET at AT&T Park. The $126-million man has gone from pariah to savior in two years. Once considered the millstone that prevented the Giants from acquiring the big hitter they had long needed because of his contract, Zito went 15-8 with a 4.15 ERA this season after going 43-61 with a 4.55 ERA in the first five years of his contract. Zito saved his biggest performance of 2012 for Game 5 in the National League Championship Series when he shut out the St. Louis Cardinals for 7 2/3 innings to help the Giants begin their comeback from a 3-1 deficit and win the series in seven games. Zito, though, downplayed the symbolism that comes with the Game 1 start. "It's not important to reflect right now," Zito said after the Giants worked out Tuesday at AT&T Park. "There's work to do. I'm going to be on the mound here in the next 24 hours, so that's where my focus is at." Giants manager Bruce Bochy was happy to break the news to Zito, even though it took a while. Zito left his cell phone in his locker in the Giants' clubhouse Monday night after San Francisco wrapped the NLCS with a 9-0 victory. "I couldn't be happier for him," Bochy said. "It says a lot about his mental toughness, his makeup. It wasn't easy not to put him on the postseason roster (in 2010). He was struggling in September. But the way he handled it was so impressive. He went out and threw a bullpen that day, and throughout the postseason he kept himself ready in case something happened. "He didn't hang his head and he even threw (batting practice). He said, 'I'll keep myself ready; if you need me, I'll be ready.' This is the way he's been the whole time he's been here." Zito is part of a reshuffled rotation after the Giants needed to go the full seven games to beat the Cardinals. Left-hander Madison Bumgarner will pitch Game 2 and be followed by right-handers Ryan Vogelsong and Matt Cain. Two-time Cy Young Award winner Tim Lincecum will be used as a reliever. After Verlander, the Tigers will start fellow right-handers Doug Fister, Anibal Sanchez and Max Scherzer. Lincecum led the NL in losses this season as he went 10-15 with 5.18 ERA in 33 starts. He allowed four runs in 4 2/3 innings while losing Game 4 of the NLCS but has given up only one run in 8 1/3 innings in three relief appearances this postseason. "It's one of your most difficult things you have to do as a manager, particularly when you're talking to a star player, a guy that's won a Cy Young and wants to be out there and that's been out there really all year for you," Bochy said. "At this point we feel we are better off with Timmy as a reliever, and he understood, and he knew he wasn't throwing the ball well and the other starters were throwing the ball great." Bumgarner will get a chance to return to the rotation in Game 2. He did not pitch again in the NLCS after getting shelled for six runs in 3 2/3 innings in Game 1. Bumgarner has lost both postseason starts, giving up 10 runs in eight innings. "I'm thankful for another shot," said Bumgarner, who was 16-11 with a 3.37 ERA in the regular season. "I know I'm a heckuva lot better than I'm shown so far in October."
GET THE YARDBARKER APP:
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

Steve Kerr does not rule out missing remainder of playoffs

Paul George won't commit to Pacers following sweep

Report: Thunder fan Beverley squabbled with is owner's son

NFL Draft prospect charged with knocking woman out

Report: At least four teams looking to trade out of top 10

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Bill Parcells on Tony Romo: ‘I was glad he retired’

Report: Garoppolo remains 'long shot' to be traded

Report: Packers coaches upset with GM Ted Thompson

Rondo fined $25K for attempting to trip Crowder

Logan Morrison curses out umpire CB Bucknor mid at-bat

Raptors jab Bucks on Twitter after Game 4 victory

The 'It's not good to play the King' quiz

Best of Yardbarker: David Fizdale and the Grizzlies won't go down quietly

Three Up, Three Down: Home run hitters are heating up

The 'Even the Browns can't mess this one up' quiz

25 times Mother Nature disrupted sports

In some ways, Dan Rooney was just another NFL owner

Box Score 4/20: When Westbrook isn't enough

The 10 best sports docs available for streaming

The '♫Happy Birthday Simpsons. Simpsons, it's your birthday♫' quiz

White House championship visits over the years

Biggest needs in the draft for every NFL team

The 'Baseball has been very, very good to its players' quiz

MLB News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
the YARDBARKER app
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

The 'It's not good to play the King' quiz

Three Up, Three Down: Home run hitters are heating up

The 'Even the Browns can't mess this one up' quiz

In some ways, Dan Rooney was just another NFL owner

The 10 best sports docs available for streaming

The '♫Happy Birthday Simpsons. Simpsons, it's your birthday♫' quiz

NBA Referee Hotline Bling: David Fizdale calls B.S.

Kris Bryant can become the next Derek Jeter — and more

The 'Baseball has been very, very good to its players' quiz

NHL youth movement: How the 2016-17 rookie class fared

Today's Best Stuff
For Publishers
Company Info
Help
Follow Yardbarker