Well, through three innings it’s already been a better Opening Day experience for Barry Zito than he had last season. Zito trails 1-0, courtesy a one-out double by Brian Giles and a two-out single by Adrian Gonzalez in the first inning. But he’s around the plate, his curveball has snap, and he’s minimizing his pitch count (32).
Amazing what can happen when you don’t face a juggernaut. In 2006, Zito lasted just four outs and gave up seven runs in a 15-2 beatdown by the Yankees. That was his only Opening Day start for the A’s, and it gets back to the point that no, the opener doesn’t always set a tone for the whole season.
Then again, check back in July to see how Zito is swinging it. He struck out in his first at-bat against Jake Peavy and looked awful doing it. The guess here is that he doesn’t get his first major-league hit until May, at the earliest.