Angels right-hander Jered Weaver has faced the A's twice this season, and the results have not been pretty. He gave up a combined 10 runs (nine earned) in 11 1/3 innings in those two starts, both in June, taking a pair of losses in the process.
On Sunday at the Coliseum in the finale of a three-game series, the Angels will look for Weaver to get back to his Oakland-dominating ways of old. For his career, the 31-year-old boasts a 2.53 ERA against the A's in 28 starts.
With Garrett Richards done for the year due to a torn left patellar tendon, Halos veterans, like Weaver, need to carry the weight -- particularly in the team's eight remaining games against the A's, who are tied with the Angels atop the American League West.
"It's going to take everybody stepping up a little more, as far as starting pitchers," Weaver said of finishing the season without Richards. "The bullpen has been doing a tremendous job already. Offensively and defensively, it's going to take a little more to have people step up and try to get through this."
Weaver hasn't pitched past the sixth inning since July 23 and has a 5.40 ERA in five starts over that stretch. Last time out, he gave up three runs in 5 1/3 innings against the Red Sox at Fenway Park.
The A's, perhaps even more so than the Angels, are leaning on their pitching to lead them to a division title. They will go with one of their four star hurlers on Sunday, lefty Scott Kazmir, who has been one of the best pitchers in the AL and recently bounced backed from two rough starts to begin the month.
On Tuesday, Kazmir limited the Mets to one run over six frames to notch his career-high 14th win. He did not have his best stuff, but he displayed veteran poise to help Oakland snap a five-game losing streak.
"I had to change my game plan a little bit," Kazmir said. "I had to try to get them off the fastball. Threw a lot of off-speed early in the counts. ... Toward the end of the game, I started to feel more comfortable about throwing my curveball and my slider and my changeup."
It's still a regular-season matchup, but players on both sides recognize that these games carry added weight.
"What do you think?" said Angels outfielder Kole Calhoun when asked of the games' significance. "It's a big series."
Angels: Hamilton facing test vs. back-to-back lefties
Josh Hamilton has swung the bat well since re-entering the lineup following two recent days off. He switched to a slightly lighter bat on Tuesday, and he will put it to the test against his second straight left-hander on Sunday.
"I do think that sometimes, for a left-handed hitter, when you do get in a little bit of a funk, it is good to see a left-handed pitcher," said manager Mike Scioscia. "I don't think you try to do as much. I just know from personal experience, and talking to a lot of hitters, that it's something that could help you to stay on the ball a little bit longer."
Hamilton went 0-for-4 with two strikeouts Saturday against lefties Jon Lester and Sean Doolittle but entered the matchup 4-for-12 with five RBIs since Tuesday.
A's: Rotation expected to shuffle for Anaheim trip
The A's are doing all they can to ensure their best pitchers take the ball in their most important games. This weekend, that meant skipping Jason Hammel's turn. Next week, that will likely mean tweaking their rotation so that each of their top four starters can face the Angels in Anaheim.
Right-hander Sonny Gray was in line to make his next start in Houston on Wednesday, but the A's are instead anticipated to pitch him the following day in Anaheim and call on a sixth starter to face the Astros.
Though nothing is official, those duties will likely fall on lefty Drew Pomeranz, who last pitched for the A's on June 16, the same day he punched a wooden chair out of frustration and broke his right hand.
This allows Lester, Kazmir and Jeff Samardzija to follow Gray in Anaheim, marking the A's final regular-season trip to Angel Stadium this year. The Angels will visit Oakland once more, Sept. 22-24.
• Of the A's 34 remaining games, 27 are against AL West opponents.
• Mike Trout has hit 28 home runs this season, 20 of which have tied the game or given the Angels a lead.
Aaron Leibowitz is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.