ARLINGTON -- After Guillermo Moscoso's superb outing on Wednesday, when he came within four outs of a no-hitter in a 7-0 win over the Royals, manager Bob Melvin said that he'd likely give the 27-year-old a longer leash and let him pitch deeper into games.
Moscoso threw 129 pitches on Wednesday, the most by an Oakland pitcher in 10 years, and it marked the first time Moscoso had pitched into the ninth inning in any of his 18 career starts.
"At this point in time, he's been incrementally moving up," Melvin said. "He hasn't pitched more than six innings for quite a while, and last few times out, he's gone a little bit longer. He's proven that he can go that distance now."
Consistency key to Weeks' success
ARLINGTON -- Jemile Weeks has been a steady hitter all season, never dipping below .284 in 80 games, and it seems as though every time his average creeps below .300, he puts together a hot streak.
Weeks has hit .379 over the past 15 games, more than 100 points higher than he hit in the 15 games before that (.277). He had his first four-hit game on Wednesday, against the Royals, pushing his average back above .300 to a team-leading .303.
"If you look at his numbers, he's been consistent from the day he's been here," manager Bob Melvin said. "He's gone through a few periods where he might have had a down three or four games, but every time he gets in the .290s, he picks it up. He's been really consistent, that's probably the surprising thing for me, [since he's] a rookie. He really didn't know the league very well and the pitching coming in. He got off to a hot start and has been able to maintain it."
Weeks said that he's getting better with experience and increased familiarity with the league's pitchers.
"I've been up there enough to not have those nerves when I get up to bat," Weeks said. "I've got more of a clear head than when I first came up."
Spoiler alert: A's won't change game plan
ARLINGTON -- Sixteen of Oakland's final 19 games come against teams in the playoff race, with six games each against the American League West-leading Rangers and closely following Angels, and a four-game series against the Tigers, who are more comfortably ahead in the AL Central.
If Oakland plays well in the final weeks of the season, it could have serious ramifications on the division races, especially in the West.
"It should be a motivator for you," manager Bob Melvin said of playing against contenders. "You always want to go out and win the game, obviously, but knowing that the teams you're playing have that much more to play for should incentivize the games for you."
Typically, teams that are eliminated -- or nearly eliminated -- from postseason contention still field the best lineups they can when playing contenders down the stretch.
"That's kind of the norm when you're playing against teams like that," Melvin said. "Now, if you have a younger player who's playing better than a veteran, you're [more] apt to do that, plus there are some guys we want to take a look at. But I don't think we'll be affected that much by it."
When teams without playoff hopes meet, managers feel free to use younger players and evaluate prospects -- but Melvin may have to wait to do that until the final series of the season, against the Mariners.
Manager Bob Melvin announced on Friday that Josh Outman will pitch on Sunday against the Rangers instead of Rich Harden. Melvin wants to give Harden a few days' rest and get a look at Outman, the only spot starter the A's are likely to use the rest of the season. Harden will pitch at home on Wednesday against the Angels.
Entering Friday's game, Oakland had lost eight games in a row to Texas, including seven under Melvin, who has lost nine in a row to the Rangers dating back to 2009, when he was the D-backs' skipper.
Though Rangers Ballpark in Arlington is often characterized as a hitter's park, the A's are hitting a paltry .173 there this season, their worst average in any stadium this year.
Dave Sessions is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.