Barry Zito took the mound for the San Francisco Giants in Game 5 of the NLCS with his team's playoff hopes on the line. St. Louis had to be feeling pretty good, as Zito has struggled throughout his entire time with the Giants. The Cards were hoping for a close-out game at home, to avoid getting back on a plane and heading West.
Of course, Zito went on to shock the entire world by throwing 7 2/3 shutout innings. Cardinals fans may have been left in disbelief, but no one was more surprised with the performance than Giants fans. Grant Brisbee of Giants blog McCovey Chronicles gave his thoughts on behalf of San Francisco fans:
No, it was perfect because it was Zito. The expression "house money" is overused, but for a good reason. There's probably a German word for "Screw it. Let's just unplug it and plug it back in because sometimes that works and… whoa, dang, I can't believe that worked", but until someone clues us in on what that word is, we'll stick with house money. If Zito had a poor outing, you would have flown through the stages of grief, mostly because you were par-cooking the first couple stages in your brain for the last 24 hours.
The series now switches to San Francisco, where the Cardinals will have to win one of two games against the Giants' two best starting pitchers to advance to the World Series. It will certainly be a more difficult task than winning at home against Barry Zito, but the Cardinals have travelled the more arduous path many times over the last couple years, and come out on top over and over again.