August 1, 2011
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Its funny how quickly Barry Zitos return to the disabled list disappeared into the ether. One minute, the world was debating whether he could actually identify the injury that sidelined him, the next minute the pennant race returned to the fore.
But thats the beauty of the Zitobsession. It waxes and wanes as though it were its own tide, governed by its own moon. He is sick and then he is cured. He is loved and then he is loathed.
And now, again, he is a hologram.
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Zito was re-disabled with the same foot injury that disabled him the last time, caused according to manager Bruce Bochy by him fouling a ball off his foot and then running on it, thus spraining his ankle.
If you choose to believe it, that is. There are many who do not, given the exquisite timing of Jonathan Sanchezs return to active duty Monday evening, and DL skullduggery is not exactly a clever ruse this time of year.
But thats the beauty of the Zitobsession, too. He is Everypitcher, all at the same time. He is a tavern argument with feet well, foot, as it turns out.
At least he was until about the fourth inning of Mondays 5-2 loss to the Arizona Diamondbacks. He completed the out of sightout of mind double lutz and became an afterthought again as the NL West race again became the tale of the tape.
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Matt Cain scuffled through most of six innings, allowing nine baserunners in the fifth and sixth alone, and the Giants hitters didnt even approach scufflehood, and the Diamondbacks compressed just enough hits to turn the Giants divisional lead over the Free-range Reptiles to a single game.
And that is what this entire exercise is still all about, much as the Zitophiles, Zitophobes and Zito Irish Dance Troupe might wish it otherwise. Winning the days game.
Mondays game wasnt that game. Arizona showed through its paper cut offense that it is going to fade neither easily nor willingly. The Dbax seem so soft, so vulnerable, so anonymous, and yet they are none of those things.
Well, maybe anonymous, if you choose not to pay attention to Justin Uptons MVP charge, or new faces like Paul Goldschmidt and Collin Cowgill and Josh Collmenter. The 11 Backs are the 10 Padres in many ways, and while you may not remember them in the October euphoria, those Friars were harder to kill than roaches.
So, we suspect, it shall be for these Arizonae. They have just enough of everything to stay close, and an easier schedule down the stretch so as to prevent the Giants from pulling back on the throttle, either by resting their bone-weary regulars or having a laying-on of hands over Zitos foot.
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No, this will be a slog just as grinding and addictive as last years, although the word torture is still banned. The Giants will look bad a fair amount of the time, and even some of their accomplishments, like Aubrey Huff becoming the second Lad to reach double-figures in homers in only the teams 109th game, will be lost in the days less memorable exertions.
Like Mondays. A relatively quick yet mostly uneventful game, capping a surprisingly eventful day. After all, Freddy Sanchez underwent shoulder surgery Tuesday and whatever infinitesimal chance he had of playing this year is now gone. Santiago Casilla tweaked his hamstring in the ninth inning and is day-to-day.
Oh, and Barry Zitos foot acted up again. Awfully thoughtful of the foot to come up with that idea all on its own now, isnt it? Thats a real team foot right there.