Originally posted on Seed Spitters  |  Last updated 5/14/12

Voumas/AP

The Giants best pitcher ever, Barry Zito, has just thrown in his seventh start of the 2012 season, and has done surprisingly well so far.

How well? Giants fans haven’t booed him off the mound yet (and that tells ya somethin’!).

But just for fun, let’s do a blind comparison of his first seven starts this season, as well as 2011 and 2002 when he was the AL Cy Young award winner with the Oakland A’s.

So here we go,

Zito #1

ERAInnings pitchedBBKHRStrikes looking (StL)Swinging strikes (StS)Strikes 4.7837.21620519%7%59%

Zito #2

ERAInnings pitchedBBKHRStrikes looking (StL)Swinging strikes (StS)Strikes 4.5439.21837519%9%64%

Zito #3

ERAInnings pitchedBBKHRStrikes looking (StL)Swinging strikes (StS)Strikes 2.5342.22023319%6%62%

Some of these Zitos are similar in several categories. The biggest differences are ERA (in this case #3 is far better), strikeouts (#2 holds a commanding lead), swinging strike percentage (again, #2) and home runs (#3).

So what do you think? Can you identify which Zito is which? One won a Cy Young award in 2002, another pitched in only 13 games 2011 and finished with an ERA just under six, while the last Zito has had a great start to 2012 thus far.

The most obvious one is Zito #1, in 2011. He had a terrible season, was injured for most of it, and still got paid millions.

The Zito of 2002 (found in table 2) had a first seven starts that don’t give any insight of how well he ended up performing for the A’s. He recieved plenty of wins in those first starts (5-2), and ended up with 23, while he lowered his ERA from a mediocre 4.54 to a respectable 2.75.

That leaves us with the Zito we just saw today. He performed pretty well for the Giants, lasting six innings, allowing five hits, three runs, three walks and striking out five – his fifth quality start out of seven.

Basically, this means nothing.

The first seven starts prove nothing in baseball. In 2010, Zito started off with a 1.90 ERA while sporting a 5-2 record. We all believed Zito had turned the page and is the pitcher we thought Brian Sabean initially signed. In the end, it was his best season as a Giant, but still struggling with a 4.15 ERA and 16-18 record.

There is no doubt Zito has been pitching well early on this season, the only question is if he can keep it up.

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