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The Zitoenix! Kind of!

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The headline:

Giants like Zito's look in return

The first sentence:

Barry Zito returned to the Giants' rotation Wednesday, and for the first time in weeks he looked like he belonged there.

Am I delusional for buying into the optimism? Because I kind of did, even before I read this story. The curve was snappy, and the fastball was in the 85-87 range. He set up hitters well, though his changeup did get walloped around a bit.

But I know that I shouldn't buy into the optimism. That would taint my international reputation as one of the finest baseball minds alive. I have to stay strong.

What if, though? What if? What if Zito tinkered with his mechanics over the last two weeks to give him a mile on his fastball and the missing snap from his curve? What if, instead of the love child of Jaime Navarro and Dave Matthews, Zito becomes a decent end-of-the-rotation guy? That's not too greedy, right?

Now that I've filled my rhetorical question quota for the week, I can come back to reality. Zito did have a quality start, yes. He actually got a few hitters to swing through his pitches. But he'll never have perfect command. He'll never have a strong enough fastball to challenge hitters. The best realistic scenario is for Zito to sprinkle a few of these starts into this bag of awful.

Did you see that curve, though? It's been a while since we've seen it. Dare I say that a he made a hitter or two look foolish?

I was going to close with yet another allusion to The Shawshank Redemption and bring up the final "hope" speech that Red gives as a voiceover once he reaches the beach in Mexico. But no one here really things there's a Zihuatanejo beach at the end of this tale. It'd be a better analogy if the hope speech were given as a montage over video clips of Andy Dufresne beating Super Metroid. Like, wow, that's neat that he was able to make the best of a reprehensible situation. Hooray for hope! Kind of!

Comment starter: What would it take to not feel completely hopeless regarding the Zito situation? A month of quality pitching? A half-season? One more start?