The left-hander went 3-1 with a 2.00 ERA in his first four outings this season, yet he has struggled mightily in his last two outings, allowing at least five runs in both contests, while going 1-1 with an 11.17 ERA.
Getting the win in his last start against the Rays, Milone surrendered five runs on five hits in just five innings of work, but he was bailed out by an Oakland offense in an eventual 9-5 win.
Surviving a rocky first inning, in which he threw 41 pitches and allowed four runs, Milone became just the second A's pitcher in the past three years to allow five runs and still get the victory.
"I don't really know what happened in that first inning," said Milone, who walked the first three Rays he faced. "I kind of lost control. Having thrown 41 pitches, I figured I wouldn't be in the game much longer. After that, I forgot all about the first inning. I just went out there and threw strikes."
He'll be up against right-hander Rick Porcello, who has won back-to-back starts after making an adjustment in his delivery.
Working with pitching coach Jeff Jones to bring his hands over his head before he throws the ball, which helps keep the location of his pitches down, Porcello said the repetition is making him more comfortable.
That was obvious on Sunday against the White Sox, when Porcello tossed 6 1/3 innings, giving up just one run on four hits for the win.
"Surprisingly, we tried it in the bullpen in New York and it felt a little weird," Porcello said. "But then the next day, I went into it again and it felt a lot more natural the second time around. So it really didn't take that long to feel natural."
Tigers: Players show up early for BP
Miguel Cabrera, Delmon Young, Brennan Boesch and Ryan Raburn were all out early to take their swings before Thursday's series opener against the A's, and boy did it pay off.
Plating 10 runs in the game, including an eight-run third inning, the Tigers got some much needed offense after the team scored three runs or less in four of their past five outings before Thursday.
Austin Jackson has hit safely in 10 of his last 13 games. He is hitting .404 (21-for-52) with four doubles, a home run and seven RBIs.
A's: McCarthy to start Saturday
Right-hander Brandon McCarthy came out of his Thursday bullpen session pain-free and will now start Saturday's game against the Tigers.
The A's became concerned on Tuesday when McCarthy was scratched from his start because of soreness in his throwing shoulder, which landed the pitcher on the disabled list in four of the past five seasons.
"I didn't feel anything today," McCarthy said. "I felt fine, and it's really not a concern at this point. I wasn't mentally hung up, wasn't worried about it. I pretty much knew what to expect, and unless something unexpected happened, I wasn't going to be surprised. It went the way I wanted it to, and it just leaves me perfectly on course for Saturday."
Yoenis Cespedes said Thursday afternoon that his left hand felt "better than yesterday," meaning the outfielder could potentially return to the lineup as soon as Friday. Cespedes, who on Wednesday was diagnosed with a muscle strain in the back of his hand, hit off the tee and took part in a round of soft toss Thursday.
Oakland's bullpen has allowed just five runs in 27 2/3 innings over the past six games after allowing two or more runs in three of the previous five games.
Porcello is 0-3 with a 5.56 ERA in four starts in Oakland, allowing 33 hits in 22 2/3 innings.