The left-hander will try to preserve Oakland’s hopes of winning the AL West as they continue their season-ending three-game series with the Anaheim Angels.
The A’s and Angels entered this critical weekend set in a dead heat for first place in the division. But Anaheim gained the upper hand in a big way Friday night, rolling to a 10-0 victory in the opener.
“It means a lot that we’re able to get the first one out of the way, but nothing’s been won,” Colon said. “I have been through it before. Nobody’s celebrating. It’s not over yet.”
“Not a very pleasant evening,” Oakland manager Ken Macha said. “After we got behind four runs, we felt we weren’t in position to give up any more, and that’s why we went to the bullpen. … He sat on the bench for three innings and rooted for the team. We’ve had tough losses all season but we’ve rebounded from them before.”
Zito will try to put the A’s back on course for their third straight West crown and fifth consecutive postseason appearance.
The 2002 AL Cy Young winner had a chance to pitch the A’s to the AL championship series last October, but suffered a 5-4 loss to Boston in the decisive fifth game of the ALDS. Oakland has failed to advance beyond the first round in each of the previous four years, but will need Zito to come up big just to get to the playoffs this time around.
“They got the momentum and we’ve exhausted all of our options,” Oakland’s Mark Kotsay said. “We know what we have to do.”
The Angels will counter with right-hander Kelvim Escobar, also working on short rest, as they try to return to the postseason for the first time since 2002, when they rode a wild-card berth all the way to their first-ever World Series title.