Zito Looking For Consistency

With two other starters on the shelf, now would be a good time for Barry Zito to halt his bad start/good start trend this year. And the A's Opening Night starter knows it.

The pattern continued Monday at Angel Stadium as Barry Zito turned in his best performance of the year, going 7 2/3 scoreless innings and allowing just five hits (all singles) and two walks.

Zito's first, third and fifth starts: 14 1/3 innings, 16 hits, 17 runs, 10 walks, 14 strikeouts.

Zito's second, fourth and sixth starts: 20 2/3 innings, nine hits, one run, six walks, 13 strikeouts.

"I've been two different pitchers this year," Zito said.

"I want this guy to stay. I need to hold them down. It's very important the starters pick up the slack."

A consistent Zito is needed, even more than usual, with Rich Harden and Esteban Loaiza on the disabled list. Brad Halsey starts Tuesday, and Kirk Saarloos likely will start Thursday.

"You never want to lose guys to injuries," A's assistant general manager David Forst said.

"But when we put the club together in the winter, we built it with guys capable of filling in. We've got at least four guys in the bullpen who have started major league games and are fully capable."

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