The Closer: Giant leap

After three straight losing seasons in the City by the Bay with an ERA over 4.00, Giants starter Barry Zito is looking like his former self again. Zito, who won 23 games with the A's in 2002 en route to the AL Cy Young Award, is undefeated in six starts this season with a 1.49 ERA.

Barry Zito is now 5-0 after his win Wednesday. That's the best record through six starts Zito has ever had. The lefty was a combined 3-11 with a 4.65 ERA through six starts from 2007-2009 with the Giants.



Why Barry Zito won:

- Worked the inner third of the plate: 54 of his 101 pitches were inside. Marlins hitters hit .214 (3-14) on inside pitches.

- Threw strikes: 71.3 strike pct Wednesday night was his highest of the season.

- Zito's curveball has been his go-to pitch throughout his career, and this season has been no different. Tonight, Zito surrendered his first hit against his curveball, an infield single. Opposing hitters are 1-39 against Zito's curveball this season with zero walks.


SINCE 2009

Why Matt Garza won:

- He finished hitters off. 100 percent of batters that went to two-strike counts became outs compared to the MLB average of 72 percent.

- He started innings strong. All eight leadoff hitters he faced became outs compared to the MLB average of 68 percent.

Why John Lackey won:

- He didn't let people on base. 57 percent of his innings pitched were 1-2-3 innings compared to the MLB average of 31 percent.

- In 6 out of the 7 innings (86 percent) he pitched, he got the first batter of the inning out.

- 1-1 counts became 1-2 counts. 67 percent of 1-1 counts became 1-2 counts compared to the MLB average of 53 percent.