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Athletics reset rotation for final 13 games, Sonny Gray on turn to pitch Game 162

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Brian Kersey

The Athletics will send Scott Kazmir, Jeff Samardzija, and Sonny Gray to the hill in that order to face the Texas Rangers between September 16-18. Kazmir and Samardzija are swapping places in the rotation, and Sonny Gray moves ahead of Jason Hammel. By doing so, Sonny Gray will be on turn to pitch the final game of the regular season instead of Jason Hammel. Jon Lester remains on turn to pitch either a tiebreaker to get into the Wild Card game, or the Wild Card game itself:

Athletics remaining schedule
Date A's Pitcher Opponent Home/Away
16-Sep Scott Kazmir Texas Rangers Home
17-Sep Jeff Samardzija Texas Rangers Home
18-Sep Sonny Gray Texas Rangers Home
19-Sep Jon Lester Philadelphia Phillies Home
20-Sep Jason Hammel Philadelphia Phillies Home
21-Sep Scott Kazmir Philadelphia Phillies Home
22-Sep Jeff Samardzija Los Angeles Angels Home
23-Sep Sonny Gray Los Angeles Angels Home
24-Sep Jon Lester Los Angeles Angels Home
25-Sep Jason Hammel Texas Rangers Away
26-Sep Scott Kazmir Texas Rangers Away
27-Sep Jeff Samardzija Texas Rangers Away
28-Sep Sonny Gray Texas Rangers Away
29/30-Sep Jon Lester Tie/ALWC
30-Sep* Scott Kazmir ALWC (if tie)
2-Oct Kazmir/Samardzija ALDS Game 1 Away
3-Oct Samardzija/Gray ALDS Game 2 Away

As pointed out by Susan Slusser in her A's Drumbeat Blog, the decision to swap Kazmir and Samardzija allows Kazmir to miss pitching against the Angels, who have raked him in his last two starts. Scott Kazmir will pitch the final game of the weekend series against the Philadelphia Phillies.

Additionally, because the Wild Card winner is likely going to face the Los Angeles Angels unless the Orioles make a big run for the top seed, the A's have a choice of using Jeff Samardzija instead of Scott Kazmir to start Game 1 of the American League Division Series. The extra off-day in the ALDS gives the A's a choice of pitching either the Game 1 or Game 2 starter in Game 5, and they might prefer to choose between Sonny Gray and Jeff Samardzija, rather than Jeff Samardzija and Scott Kazmir.

In the event that the A's end up tied for the second Wild Card at the end of the season, Lester will pitch in the Tiebreaker Game. Jason Hammel's turn will follow, but I imagine Scott Kazmir would pitch the AL Wild Card game on short rest, with Bob Melvin willing to turn to Jesse Chavez, Drew Pomeranz, or even Hammel if Kazmir begins to falter.