The two star pitchers should provide an interesting matchup when New York looks to complete a three-game sweep of the Oakland Athletics at Yankee Stadium.
Brown, who came to New York in the offseason deal that sent Jeff Weaver to the Dodgers, won his first three starts for the Yankees—all against the Tampa Bay Devil Rays. However, the veteran right-hander has not received a decision in either of his last two outings despite pitching effectively in both.
On Saturday, Brown limited the Boston Red Sox to one earned run and four hits over seven innings, striking out one and walking a season high-tying four, as the Yankees suffered a 3-2 loss in 12 innings.
“That was a courageous outing,” Torre said after watching Brown throw only 57 of his 104 pitches for strikes. “He had men on all the time.”
Brown hasn’t taken long to establish himself as New York’s most reliable starter in the early season. His 2.12 ERA is tops among Yankees starters, just over half a run better than fellow newcomer Javier Vazquez’s 2.63 mark.
Zito, who suffered through an inconsistent campaign last year after winning the 2002 AL Cy Young Award, is off to a rocky start. He has alternated dismal outings with strong ones his first four times out.
On Friday, Zito was pounded for a career-high nine runs and 10 hits over only four innings of a 12-2 loss to Anaheim. The left-hander is trying to rebound from a lackluster 2003 after winning the 2002 AL Cy Young Award.
Zito’s previous career high for runs allowed was eight against Texas on April 14, 2001, and last Aug. 2 against the Yankees.
Despite the beating, Zito remained unfazed.
“I wasn’t any less intense or less aggressive,” Zito said. “I think they changed their approach against me and the changeup got hit.”
The Yankees have taken the first two games of this series, and can complete their first three-game sweep of the year Thursday.
Derek Jeter continued the longest hitless stretch of his career, falling to 0-for-32 after going 0-for-4 on Wednesday.
“Pitchers aren’t going to feel sorry for you. You’ve just got to go out and keep swinging,” Jeter said. “It’s a funny game sometimes. You just try to help the team in other ways.”
Rookie Bobby Crosby homered for the A’s, who have lost a season-high five in a row.