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Game 133 Preview: Zito vs. Nicasio

Which Barry Zito will show up tonight?

Stephen Dunn

The Rockies return to Coors tonight where they are 36-17 on the season for their second to last home stand of 2013.  They will face the Giants who currently sit in the NL West cellar but are just two games behind Colorado for the third spot in the division.

On the mound for the Giants tonight is Barry Zito who is going to have to break one of two trends in this one.  As Jordan Freemyer mentioned in today's "Know Your Foe" piece, "Zito ( as a Giant) has a 3.06 ERA in 125 innings against the Rockies and a 4.82 ERA in 999 innings against everyone else" with a Coors Field ERA of 3.96.  If he comes up with another unexplained brilliant outing tonight against Colorado tonight though, it will be even harder to believe.

In his last four starts, Zito has failed to get through five innings every time.  Notice I say starts, because over the last several weeks, the soft tossing lefty has been so awful that the Giants have tried to avoid using him in that role if at all possible, and no, he hasn't looked good out of the pen either.  In fact, since July 14th, Zito has an 11.09 ERA with opponents hitting .361 with an 11.53 OPS against him.

I had the pleasure of watching his last start against Boston and it looked like he was throwing batting practice.  He looked like a man at the end of his career.  If he finds a way to shut down the Rockies tonight, as he's done many times before, it will be especially infuriating.

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On the mound for the Rockies will be Juan Nicasio who has had a very up and down season.  Right now he's on an up as he's held the last two opponents to a combined three runs over 11.2 innings pitched.  Perhaps the most interesting thing about Nicasio's season however has been his ability to pitch better at Coors than on the road.

Nicasio at Coors: 10 starts, 3.95 ERA, 7.9 K/9, 2.9 BB/9, .634 OPS against

Nicasio on the road: 14 starts, 5.43 ERA, 5.0 K/9. 3.7 BB/9, .852 OPS against

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Troy Tulowitzki is not in the lineup tonight but he is available to pinch hit and should be back in the lineup tomorrow.  With the team out of the race, they are not going to take any chances with their best player.

Lineups

Giants

1. Gregor Blanco (L) CF

2. Marco Scutaro (R) 2B

3. Brandon Belt (L) 1B

4. Buster Posey (R) C

5. Hunter Pence (R) RF

6. Pablo Sandoval (S) 3B

7. Brandon Crawford (L) SS

8. Francisco Peguero (R) LF

9. Barry Zito (L) P

Rockies

1. Dexter Fowler (S) CF

2. DJ LeMahieu (R) 2B

3. Michael Cuddyer (R) RF

4. Wilin Rosario (R) C

5. Nolan Arenado (R) 3B

6. Todd Helton (L) 1B

7. Charlie Culberson (R) LF

8. Jonathan Herrera (S) SS

9. Juan Nicasio (R) P