Really, I've heard them all now, and I've been watching, and I'm convinced now that there's only one thing wrong with Barry Zito: in each game, he needs to establish early on the ability to throw the curveball for strikes. If he does, he dominates. If he doesn't, he sucks. The curve sets up everything else for him. It's that simple.
Today, Zito didn't throw a curveball for a strike until the fourth inning. In the third inning, he yielded four runs. After that first good curveball, the Orioles got nothing else. The only thing stopping Zito after that was his pitch count.
Let's not confuse the issue. It's not about empty stomachs or his lack of zen mentality or his declining strikeout rate or bad DIPS numbers or listening to too many people. It's all about the curve.