Barry Zito crashes and burns as the Giants’ collars get tighter

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I wanted Barry Zito to excel to today. To put the horrid outings behind him. To justify his gargantuan salary. To redeem himself, to be the hero, to be the man as the San Francisco Giants clinched the American League West title and advanced to a glorious post-season.

It didn’t happen.

No. 75 didn’t get past inning No. 3.

What a huge disappointment for the Giants and for their fans. Now they stare down the Padres, who have owned them virtually the entire 2010 season, for one more game. Maybe even two.

Based on a million permutations involving the Phillies and Braves and tie-breakers and God knows what else, the Giants may still make the playoffs even if they lose on Sunday.

Today was the day they should have clinched (yes, I’ve put the painful Friday night loss in the series opener behind me).

So what happens tomorrow? Will Jonathan Sanchez be able to keep his emotions in check in the biggest start of his career?

I hope so. But I won’t be surprised if it all comes crashing down on the Orange and Black.

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