Zito, the reigning AL Cy Young Award winner, is 0-3 in his last five outings and has just one win in 10 starts since mid-June. The left-hander has been victimized by poor run support in his last three starts, receiving a combined three runs.
On Thursday, Zito allowed four hits over seven scoreless innings, but did not receive a decision in Oakland’s 2-1 loss at Anaheim.
Zito ranks sixth in the league in ERA (3.19), fifth in innings (155 1-3) and third in batting average against (.219). Despite the impressive numbers, he is just one loss away from a career high ninth defeat.
“I don’t fall into that trap of looking at wins and losses, because it’s not indicative,” Zito said. “I look more at ERA and stuff like that.”
The A’s rallied for a dramatic 3-2 win in Friday’s series opener. New York second baseman Alfonso Soriano’s error allowed the tying run to score in the bottom of the eighth inning and Miguel Tejada came through by belting a walk-off homer with two out in the 10th.
The win lifted Oakland within three games of first-place Seattle in the AL West and just one-half game behind Boston in the AL wild-card race.
The Yankees had a three-game winning streak snapped, but maintained a 3 1/2 -game lead over the second-place Red Sox in the AL East.
STANDINGS: Yankees - 1st place, AL East. Athletics - 2nd place, 3 GB, AL West.
YANKEES PROBABLE STARTER: Jeff Weaver (5-8, 5.27 ERA). Weaver was charged with two runs—both scoring after he left the game—and two hits over 6 1-3 innings in New York’s 6-4 loss at Boston on Sunday. The right-hander has allowed three earned runs or fewer in four of his last six starts. Weaver is 2-4 with a 6.00 ERA in 10 career starts against the A’s.
ATHLETICS PROBABLE STARTER: Zito (8-8, 3.19 ERA). Zito has split a pair of decisions against New York this year. He is 6-2 with a 3.55 ERA in 10 career starts against the Yankees.
OFFENSIVE LEADERS: Yankees - Hideki Matsui, .297 avg.; Jason Giambi, 30 HRs and 83 RBIs; Soriano, 78 runs and 27 SBs. Athletics - Eric Byrnes, .279 avg.; Eric Chavez, 20 HRs and 8 SBs.; Tejada, 66 RBIs and 62 runs.
SEASON SERIES: Athletics, 5-2.
STREAKS AND NOTES: Yankees - 3B Aaron Boone, acquired in a trade deadline deal with Cincinnati on Thursday, made his Yankees debut Friday, going 1-for-4. … 2B Soriano is 1-for-16 with one RBI and seven strikeouts in his career against LHP Zito. … SS Jeter has had his share of success against Zito, going 5-for-14 (.357) with a homer and two RBIs. Athletics - Newly acquired OF Jose Guillen went 0-for-4 in his Oakland debut Friday. Boone and Guillen were teammates in Cincinnati two days earlier. … SS Tejada is batting .381 (8-for-21) with a homer and five RBIs against RHP Weaver. … Zito is 3-4 with a 2.88 ERA in 10 home starts this year.
ROAD/HOME RECORDS: Yankees - 36-20 on the road; Athletics - 39-17 at home.
INJURIES: Yankees - RHP Jose Contreras (shoulder), 15-day DL; RHP Steve Karsay (shoulder), 15-day DL; LHP Gabe White (groin), 15-day DL; RHP Jon Lieber (elbow), 60-day DL. Athletics - OF Jermaine Dye (shoulder), 15-day DL; LHP Micah Bowie (elbow), 15-day DL.