Is it time to start feeling sorry for Barry Zito?

As I post these latest "Wow, I just got rocked!" faces of Barry Zito, I think the answer is yes.

Zito posted a decent outing on Saturday, but still lost for the eighth time in nine starts as his offense couldn't get anything going against the White Sox, losing 3-1. That left him as the first Giants starter to lose his first eight decisions since Jesse "Crab" Burkett in ... wait for it ... 1890.

Repeat: 1890. Eleven years before Teddy Roosevelt became President.

Now I realize there are a lot of you out there — many wearing orange & black caps — saying that Zito doesn't deserve any of our sympathy. You think that because he's in the second year of a 7-year/$126 million deal that laying in a mattress stuffed with money should provide enough comfort.

While that's a point that's oft-repeated and one that's easy to see, I think that's precisely the reason to feel badly for Mr. Zito.

Look, there isn't anyone among us who wouldn't have put pen to paper had Brian Sabean showed up on our doorstep two offseasons ago and asked us to spend it while living in San Francisco.

And there probably isn't anyone among us that wouldn't have then gone out and tried to prove that they deserved the contract, even if their last outing was in a Wiffle Ball tourney at a company picnic eight years ago. It's human instinct.

So what do you think is going through Zito's mind right now? Here he is, the second-highest paid pitcher in baseball and yet his professional reputation is nothing but bad blog fodder. Not to get all cliche here, but I'm thinking at this point the money doesn't even matter. Zito just wants to get back on track and show at least a few flashes of what brought that contract in the first place.

For those of you who take pride in your career, I'm assuming you can relate.

All of which is to say that I hope Zito finally gets a win next time out. He's not pitching this poorly on purpose and there are only so many times you can post pictures like the ones above before you really start to feel for the guy.

(A BLS head nod goes to Sooze at Babes Love Baseball for the jumping point.)

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