It took nearly 8 weeks of regular season action, but after 10 starts, Barry Zito is finally in the win column. The Giants' 126 million dollar man got his first win since last September, and the Giants have now won three in a row. Zito has definitely turned things around in the month of May. He still isn't where he needs to be, but after a horrific April, he's gone 1-2 with a 2.79 ERA, and 16 K's in 22.1 innings pitched during May. He's still walking more batters than he should, but he's done a very good job at stranding runners on base and pitching out of trouble. I think the few starts that Zito took off have helped him refocus. He looks like a different pitcher now than he did in April. Zito also finally got some offensive support, as the Giants scored more than 3 runs for just the second time in Zito's 10 starts. Getting win number one will certainly ease Zito's mind, and now with the monkey somewhat off of his back, I'd expect to see him continue pitching more like he has in May rather than the way he threw in April. Again, I'm not saying that Zito is now suddenly fixed and returned to form. No, he will never live up to the contract he signed, but it doesn't mean he still can't be a quality pitcher.
The Giants have also been getting more consistent production out of Jose Castillo over the last couple of weeks. Castillo has sported a decent slugging percentage all season due to his knack for hitting doubles, but his OBP had been below .300 for most of the season. Now his OBP is up to .327, which has his OPS at a respectable .774. Castillo is still below average offensively for a third basemen, but he's still relatively young (27) and versatile enough to play both second and third base very well. He's still got some upside. Also, with Ray Durham's contract expiring after the year, and Eugenio Velez and Kevin Frandsen unproven, Castillo could position himself to become the Giants everyday second basemen in 2009. He's on pace for a .260 average, 13 home runs, 70 RBI, and 80 runs scored which are by no means all-star numbers, but pretty good for a spring training pickup at the league minimum.
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