The time for Giants’ fans to rally behind their game 5 starter Barry Zito is now. The #rallyzito movement took over the Giants corner of twitter today as hopeful fans throw their support behind a very unlikely starter in what could be — down 3-1 in this series as they are — their final game of the season. Barry Zito, starting a game the Giants must win if they wish to carry on. Barry. Zito. That Barry Zito. Really.

The choice to start Zito is not really a good one but, on the other hand, it is no choice at all. Madison Bumgarner all but pitched himself out of a rotation spot this post-season. Is the cause a shifting release point by virtue of a mechanical flaw? Who knows? All we do know is Barry Zito starts this game against Lance Lynn with the Cardinals ahead 3-1 and on the precipice of a second consecutive World Series berth. Get used to the dynasty!

The Barry Zito Isn’t as Bad as You Think” train is all but out of momentum. It turns out Barry Zito was as bad as you thought, if you thought he pitched as well as a #5 starter for most of the year. Usually, number five starters aren’t called on to save seasons – they’re number five starters, after all.

But Zito must do the only thing Barry Zito is capable of doing at this point of his career: survive. Hang around, move the ball around and try to keep the powerful, right-handed heavy lineup of the Cardinals off-balance.

Sure, right-handed hitters tuned Barry Zito for a .353 wOBA this season, but this is the playoffs, man. Anything can happen! It’s just one game! One game Barry Zito won’t likely be long for, with Bumgarner waiting in the wings to swoop in at the first sign of trouble.

Below, from Brooks Baseball, is Barry Zito’s pitch usage by count.

And the Cardinals line-up champing at the bitopposing the crafty lefty tonight:

  1. J. Jay cf
  2. C. Beltran rf
  3. M. Holliday lf
  4. A. Craig 1b
  5. Y. Molina c
  6. D. Freese 3b
  7. D. Descalso 2b
  8. P. Kozma ss
  9. L. Lynn p

Lance Lynn makes his second start of the series, looking to improve on his rough Game One outing. After cruising through the Giants order the first time around, Lynn ran into a world of trouble in the fourth inning. With full rest and a proper schedule of preperation, one tends to believe he might have a better time trying to turn the lineup over.

Lynn’s velocity tailed off considerably at the end of his Game One outing – the velocity he relies on to contend with tough left-handed bats.

And a look at what Lynn throws in different counts and situations.

Here is the lineup Bruce Bochy sends out against the bearded righty. Back to normal with Brandon Belt back in the mix and Hector Sanchez, Zito’s catcher in his previous start, is safely absconded in the dugout.

  1. A. Pagán CF
  2. M. Scutaro 2B
  3. P. Sandoval 3B
  4. B. Posey C
  5. H. Pence RF
  6. B. Belt 1B
  7. G. Blanco LF
  8. B. Crawford SS
  9. B. Zito P

The Giants must win tonight to bring the series back to the cosy confines of AT&T Park, where they still must win two straight. Against a team as deep and talented as this CRADCORE movement, a tough ask. Not impossible but, considering the Giants starting pitcher tonight, a very tall task indeed.