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|
|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|
|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.