June 24, 2016

ANAHEIM, Calif. -- Jered Weaver threw a three-hit shutout the last time he faced the Oakland Athletics on June 19. You can bet the A's hitters will make adjustments when they face him again Friday night at Angel Stadium.

Weaver's transformation to finesse pitcher is ongoing. Not only is he adjusting to pitching with a fastball that ranges typically from 83-86 mph, but opposing teams are adjusting to hitting it, too.

Weaver's fastball looks so much like a batting practice fastball, hitters often try to kill the ball and wind up making poor contact. Or Weaver might throw a 68 mph changeup and make them look silly.

According to A's catcher and No. 3 hitter Stephen Vogt, he and his teammates will have a different approach Friday.

"He's the kind of guy that feeds off aggression," Vogt said. "And a guy like him, every pitch looks like you can hammer it, and that's just not the case."

With or without his fastball, Weaver has pitched well against the A's throughout his career. He is 14-11 with a 2.62 ERA in 34 career starts against them. Only one other pitcher (minimum 200 innings pitched) has a better ERA against the A's since the club moved to Oakland in 1968 -- Luis Tiant with a 2.37 ERA.

In 14 starts overall this season, Weaver is 6-6 with a 5.10 ERA.

While the A's offense tries to figure out Weaver, Oakland manager Bob Melvin will try to find a way to get starting pitcher Eric Surkamp a victory. The lefty is 0-5 with a 7.20 ERA in eight starts this season, and he hasn't won a game as a starting pitcher for nearly five years -- the last win coming in September 2011 while he was with the San Francisco Giants.

Surkamp did win two games as a reliever with the Chicago White Sox in 2014.

There is some optimism, though, considering Surkamp matched a career best when he went six innings against the Angels last Sunday in the same game in which Weaver threw the shutout. Surkamp held Los Angeles to two runs on six hits and two walks while striking out five.

"That's the best he's pitched for us, and we needed it, to get deeper in the game and stay away from some (relievers) who have been taxed," A's manager Bob Melvin told MLB.com.

In two career starts against the Angels, Surkamp is 0-2 despite a 3.38 ERA.

Playoff hopes for both the Angels and A's look bleak. Los Angeles (31-42) is a season-worst 11 games under .500, but a half-game ahead of Oakland (30-42) Only the Minnesota Twins (23-49) have a worse record than the A's in the American League.

A's general manager David Forst, though, told MLB.com that it is too early to consider dealing major league players for young talent with the trade deadline a little more than a month away.

"There's still a long way to go before deciding exactly what your strategy will be," Forst said. "We made some deals at the deadline last year which set us up with guys like (Sean) Manaea and (Daniel) Mengden. So you know there's the possibility of that. At the same time, if you play better over the next month and get healthier, you still want to leave room for that. So we'll take some time to decide."

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