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The 606 - September 25, 2010
Dan Port | Saturday September 25th, 2010
Zito leads the Giants against Hammel and the surging Rockies. (AP)
Zito leads the Giants against Hammel and the surging Rockies. (AP)

Baseball Press presents "The 606", a look at the most intriguing pitching matchup of the day, with a final prediction of the winning pitcher. You may be asking yourself "What exactly does The 606 mean? There's no major league baseball for that area code- it's in Eastern Kentucky!" BBP isn't listing players from Eastern Kentucky either. The 606 is short for 60 feet and 6 inches. If you still don't understand, I direct your attention to Official Rule 1.07 from Major League Baseball, referring to the distance from the pitching mound to home plate. Now that we've got that squared away, let's take a look at today's featured pitching matchup for Saturday, September 25th.

Yesterday, Pirates youngster James McDonald saw his hot streak end by recording just at 4 inning, 3 run effort against the Astros.

No Decision: James McDonald (4 IP, 5 H, 3 ER, 2 BB, 4 K, 1.75 WHIP)

The 606 Season-to-Date Record (W-L-ND): 110-96-68, 3.80 ERA (721 ER in 1706.2 IP)

Zito leads the Giants against Hammel and the surging Rockies. (AP)

In today's 606, one of our favorite veteran lefties takes the mound for the Giants against a 28 year-old Rockies hurler who, like everyone on the Colorado squad, is trying to earn a victory and get a few steps closer to post-season play.

LHP Barry Zito - SF (9-13 3.98 ERA) vs. RHP Jason Hammel - COL (10-8, 4.56 ERA)
Giants pitcher and unicorn enthusiast Barry Zito finally halted a two month winless streak by getting a victory in his last start, notching a 9-2 win against the Milwaukee Brewers.  Zito hadn't been awful during that run, as he had 5 quality starts in his 11 non-relief outings and suffered from some bad luck and lack of run support.  The Giants, remarkably, have allowed 3 or fewer runs in 17 straight games and have allowed 4 or fewer in 22 straight, a credit to the strong rotation of Zito, Tim Lincecum, Matt Cain, Jonathan Sanchez, and rookie Madison Bumgarner, who tossed 7 shutout innings at the Cubs on Thursday night.  The club is 14-8 in that span are battling both the Padres and Rockies for the NL West crown and possibly a wild card playoff berth.  Zito, who started the season so dominantly by going 6-2 with a 2.78 ERA in his first 11 starts, has leveled off but is still having a solid season, despite his win-loss record.  He'll look to reach double-digit wins for the 10th straight season on Saturday against the Rockies.  He struggled in his last start against the Rockies, going just 5.1 innings and allowing 8 hits and 6 earned runs, though 2 of those came around to score after he had left the game for reliever Dan Runzler.  It hasn't all been bad, though, as has turned in an 8 inning, 5 hit, 2 run victory, and a 7 inning, 7 hit, 1 run no decision against Colorado this year.  Furthermore, in 14 career starts against the Rockies, Zito is 5-2 with a 2.40 ERA, the best ERA mark he's had against any club in his career.

It's been an up-and-down season in 2010 for Rockies hurler Jason Hammel, who has the identical win-loss record he had at the end of last season.  Hammel, a former Ray and a native of South Carolina, has emerged as a reliable but unspectacular rotation option for Colorado, who looks to overtake the Padres and Giants for the NL West crown in the final games of the year.  Hammel has gone through a rough patch lately, as his ERA has risen from 4.07 (where it sat after a 7 inning, 3 run, 10 strikeout loss to the Reds) to its current 4.56.  He has allowed 15 runs in 21.2 innings here in the month of September, and he's managed just 4 innings of work in his last two games.  The potent Rockies offense has kept him from suffering too many losses, but the club needs him to step up against the Giants on Saturday to help keep their playoff hopes alive.  In home games this year, Hammel is 7-2 with a 3.90 ERA (compared to 3-6, 5.35 on the road) and he has fared very well against the Giants this year.  In a pair of starts against San Francisco, Hammel has no wins or losses but has allowed just 3 runs (all on homers), 14 hits, and 1 walk while striking out 13 in 13.2 innings.  If he can return to that form and break his recent rough streak, he could earn his club a much-needed W.

Final Prediction: Barry Zito

Dan PortDan Port has been a writer and article editor for Baseball Press since the fall of 2009. He's a Wisconsin native and Los Angeles resident, as well as an aspiring novelist, moderately successful gambler, and avid craft beer aficionado. You can reach him at dan@baseballpress.com or check him out on Twitter @danport and at DanielPort.com.