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Barry Zito will start Game 1 for Giants

San Francisco Giants starting pitcher Barry Zito celebrates the final out of the seventh inning against the St. Louis Cardinals during Game 5 of their MLB NLCS playoff baseball series in St. Louis

San Francisco Giants starting pitcher Barry Zito celebrates the final out of the seventh inning against the St. Louis Cardinals during Game 5 of their MLB NLCS playoff baseball series in St. Louis, Missouri, October 19, 2012. REUTERS/John Gress (UNITED STATES - Tags: SPORT BASEBALL)

REUTERS

UPDATE: It’s official, Zito will start Game 1.
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There’s no official word yet on the Giants’ rotation for the World Series, but Andrew Baggarly of CSNBayArea.com reports that Barry Zito is likely to get the call for Game 1 against the Tigers.

He’d face Justin Verlander in a matchup of former Cy Young winners (which sounds perfectly normal except for the part about Zito winning his in 2002).

That represents a helluva turnaround for a guy who was left off the postseason roster during the Giants’ run to the World Series in 2010, but Zito came up huge with 7.2 shutout innings in Game 5 of the NLCS and according to Baggarly “word around the team is that Zito deserves the honor.”

Zito struggled against right-handed hitters all season, allowing them to bat .281 with an .823 OPS (compared to .209 with a .559 OPS versus lefties), so matching up with a Detroit lineup that includes righties Miguel Cabrera, Austin Jackson, Delmon Young, Jhonny Peralta, Omar Infante, and Avisail Garcia isn’t ideal. Of course, the same was even more true of a Cardinals lineup filled with good right-handed bats and Zito shut them down.