After going through a four-start stretch where he gave up just three runs, Zach Britton gave up five runs in his last start Sunday against the Yankees. He looks to bounce back from that outing tonight at Oakland.
In his four starts before that one, Britton won a career-high four straight games, going 4-0 with an ERA of 0.95. Over 28 2/3 innings, he gave up 21 hits with seven walks and 29 strikeouts.
But he lasted just 3 1/3 innings versus New York, allowing five hits, five walks and five runs with just two strikeouts.
After that game, Britton said the Yankees were very good at laying off his sinker and not chasing it.
"The sinker was diving out the zone for me and they stayed with a good approach, not chasing the balls at the knees that were going down," he said. "I just didn't make the adjustment and get ahead (in the count). When I did get ahead, I got the ground balls, but in the situations where I really needed to get ahead, I couldn't do it. My stuff was as good as the last four outings, it was just a matter of throwing more strikes with that sinker."
We'll see if the A's bite on that pitch tonight. On July 27, they beat the Orioles in a game where Britton started and he gave up six hits and six runs over 5 2/3 innings.
In three career starts against the A's, Britton is 1-1 with a 6.62 ERA.
Britton has struggled early in some games this year. His ERA is 6.30 in the first two innings of his starts and opponents are hitting .391 against him in those innings.
A tough third inning: Just like in that New York start, Britton saw the opponent post a big inning against him, as Oakland scored five in the last of the third to take a 5-2 lead. After Stephen Drew homered to lead off the inning, Britton walked a batter and hit another to fuel the inning as a pair of RBI singles came ahead of Chris Carter's two-run double that made it 5-2.
After throwing 29 pitches over the first two innings, Britton needed 38 pitches to get through the third.
Britton now out of game: Not the outing he was hoping for. Britton allowed five runs over four innings as Steve Johnson came on to pitch in the fifth. Britton needed 57 pitches over the third and fourth frames.
In his last two starts, Britton has pitched 7 1/3 innings, allowing nine hits and nine walks and 10 earned runs after that outstanding four-start stretch.