March 24, 2013; Tempe, AZ, USA; San Francisco Giants starting pitcher Barry Zito (75) throws in the first inning during a spring training game against the Los Angeles Angels at Tempe Diablo Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Rick Scuteri-USA TODAY Sports

Zito Fittingly Starts Home Opener Against Cardinals: Game Preview

The San Francisco Giants will commemorate their 2012 championship on Friday after taking two of three from the Los Angeles Dodgers. And with Barry Zito on the mound against the St.Louis Cardinals, the team he carved up over seven innings in the NLCS last year, it’s only fitting.

Zito’s 7 2/3 shutout innings sparked a historical comeback, as Ryan Vogelsong and Matt Cain followed him with two dominant pitching performances to win three straight elimination games.

Despite a memorable NLCS start, Zito finished 2012 with a 4.15 ERA in 32 starts. But Zito pitched to the tune of a 3.92 ERA over his final 11 starts. More importantly, the Giants won all 11 of these games.

The Cardinals will surely be looking for revenge with Jake Westbrook on the hill. Westbrook had his 2012 campaign cut short with an oblique problem.

Westbrook would figure to be the ideal fit for AT&T Park. His sinker induces plenty of ground balls, and fly balls are a rarity.

Offensively, Brandon Belt, who was ill over the final two games of the Dodgers series, should be back in the lineup.

For the Cardinals, Carlos Beltran and Matt Holiday have struggled against Zito. Beltran is hitting a mere .229 in 50 plate appearances while Holiday is hitting .206 in 38 plate appearances.

Tags: San Francisco Giants

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