The $126 million man

Another superb outing by a Giants starter last night. Tim Lincecum outdueled Houston’s Roy Oswalt, giving the Giants a third straight win. That’s four excellent outings in a row since Barry Zito was lit up by the A’s on Friday.

Which, of course, brings us back to Zito, who gets a chance to rectify that outing tonight against the Astros. It would behoove him to do so, too, because right now, the most expensive pitcher in the history of major-league baseball is the worst starting pitcher on the Giants’ staff. Lincecum and Matt Cain have been riding their outstanding stuff to success, Noah Lowry has been sharp not only with his pitches but with his pitch-sequence, and Matt Morris is learning to dazzle despite lacking the mid-90’s gas he used to take with him in St. Louis.

Then, there’s Zito, whose statistics today are wholly unimpressive. Don’t know if he’s trying too hard, nibbling too much or simply has reached the point in his career where most hitters know how to attack him. But I can guarantee you this: When the Giants gave him all that money, they didn’t do so with the expectation that Zito would be their fifth-best starter through the first quarter of the season.

Zito will be playing his guitar at a charity event in downtown San Francisco on Thursday. But sweet music better emerge from the pitcher’s mound tonight. Fans’ patience, not to mention the Giants’, could soon start to wear thin.