Zito is 0-2 with a 3.69 ERA over his last five starts since a win over Seattle on May 1. He pitched well despite losing last Friday at Cleveland, allowing one run and a pair of hits over six innings in a 4-1 loss.
The 27-year-old left-hander has been plagued by poor run support. Oakland has scored two runs or fewer in six of his 11 starts.
“Barry has been a tremendous teammate through all of this,” Oakland manager Ken Macha said. “He’s in the dugout cheering for everybody. He pitched well. We’ve got to let these pitchers know that we can give them some offensive support.”
Zito is 5-3 with a 4.33 ERA in eight career starts against the Devils Rays. He surrendered a career-high 11 runs—eight earned—and seven hits over a season-low 3 1-3 innings in an 11-2 loss at Tampa Bay on April 9.
The Devil Rays will also send a southpaw to the mound in 6-foot-9 Mark Hendrickson, who is 1-2 with a 7.13 ERA against Oakland in four career appearances—including three starts. Hendrickson is 0-1 with a 4.50 ERA in three road starts.
The 30-year-old left-hander gave up two runs and six hits over 5 2-3 innings for his first win since May 5 in a 5-4 victory over Seattle last Friday. Hendrickson is 0-2 with a 9.26 ERA at the McAfee Coliseum in three appearances, including a pair of starts.
Oakland has lost five of eight meetings with Tampa Bay to drop the season series for just the second time. The Athletics are searching for their first three-game winning streak of the season after a 10-1 victory on Tuesday.
Nick Swisher drove in four runs and Dan Haren pitched a five-hitter for his first career complete game as Oakland won its second straight after an eight-game losing streak. The 10-run outburst marked just the second time that the Athletics have reached double figures this season.
Tampa Bay dropped its fifth straight road game on Tuesday, falling to a major league-worst 3-20 on the road.
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