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Open Thread: Spring Training Game 29

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It's a battle of aces today as Barry Zito takes on Jason Schmidt and the San Francisco Giants.

Zito makes his final start of the spring. Barry could be primed for one of his best seasons ever, despite the 5.40 ERA and 1.65 spring WHIP. Why would I say that?

Two reasons. First, Zito is in a contract year and many players are at their best when they can finally land that monster contract that will set them up for life. Second, Zito is throwing his slider more often and has the confidence now that it is a major league pitch, not just a "show pitch" any more.

Then again the truth is that Zito needs to have command over the fastball and be able to throw it for strikes when he needs to, otherwise that point is moot. Zito said that he'll be working on that today in the article linked above.

In his final tuneup, Zito plans to reestablish his fastball command on the inside half of the plate against right-handed hitters.

"I need to be able to hit that spot down and in to righties," he said. "That sets everything up."

I still think Zito will be primed and ready to go come Monday night. The Coliseum will be sold out, he'll be facing the Yankees and Randy Johnson and the game will sure have an electric atmosphere.