Sentimental Hudson-Zito Matchup Quickly Turns to Parker Show

By: Ben Leonard

Everyone thought this game was going to be historic because two members of the A’s Big Three, Tim Hudson and Barry Zito, toed the rubber against each other in what could be the last career start for each pitcher. Instead, it took under an hour for both to exit the game, with the two combining to pitch just 2.1 innings (Or 3.1, if you count Josh Osich/Zito’s twin’s outing), quickly turning into a 14-10 Giants’ shootout win. The two clubs combined for 30 hits, which was likely a higher total than in all of July for the Giants.

This was almost a tear-jerking recap, full of Hudson sinkers and Zito curves and references to 40-year olds that should be put out to pasture, but unfortunately (and fortunately?!) enough, it wasn’t.

I wish I could have gushed about Tim Hudson’s career, or how much of a class act Zito is. Oh wait, I still can. Even though both pitched terribly, (as we kind of expected) we can still appreciate both of their careers.

Never again will we see pitchers quite like these two. Hudson’s self-deprecating humor and humble nature will be missed, as will Zito’s graceful exit from San Francisco and into obscurity, despite a massive contract.

Both were extremely effective soft-throwers in their primes, but for different reasons. For Zito, a knee-buckling curveball helped him compensate for a below-average fastball, and for Hudson, it was his biting sinker. We saw flashes of both on Saturday, and a teary Hudson in the dugout.

After Zito served up four runs, a Jarrett Parker home run, and a Marlon Byrd two-RBI double in the first two frames, Hudson had a 4-0 lead to work with. However, after a quick first inning he struggled to find the zone, throwing just 5 of his 26 pitches for strikes in the second. Uh oh. Hudson walked or beaned in three runs with the bases loaded, making that 4-0 lead drop down to just a one-run advantage.

It takes a special guy to have your teammates and manager all wearing your jersey in the dugout before the game, and to stay cheering despite such a bad outing. Hudson cheered on all of Jarrett Parker’s three home runs, including the eventual game-winning grand slam in the eighth that gave the Giants a 14-10 lead.

Parker became the first rookie to hit three home runs in a game since an obscure newbie named Andrew McCutchen did back in August of 2009, and the first Giant to have at least three big flies and seven RBI’s since some other rando named Willie Mays did in 1961. What’s up with these irrelevant scrubs having such big games?

His thoughts on the Mays stats: “Speechless.” Enough said.

Parker now has five home runs in his last nine plate appearances, and somehow also made two outs today. Because baseball.

Don’tcha think he’s ready to be the starting left fielder next year? Pair him with Blanco in center and you’ve got a pretty dynamic duo going on out there. Just food for thought, Mr. Evans.

Even though a unicorn named Jarrett emerged, along with lots of rainbows, the game wasn’t all that rainbowy throughout. The Giants had two separate three and four run deficits, and still came back to win.

They had been 8-44 when they trailed after 4 innings this season, but it was just their day today. The baseball gods willed it for Hudson — he deserves it.


Cover Image: San Francisco Giants’ Jarrett Parker follows the flight of his grand slam hit off Oakland Athletics’ Ryan Dull in the eighth inning of a baseball game Saturday, Sept. 26, 2015, in Oakland, Calif. (AP Photo/Ben Margot)