However, if anyone can give them a boost, it's starter Jered Weaver .
Weaver will go for his major league-leading 15th win Monday night when the Angels open their series against the Athletics.
With Texas enjoying a comfortable lead atop the division, Los Angeles and Oakland are battling for the two wild-card spots.
The Angels (58-51) are now one-half-game back of both the Athletics (58-50) and Tigers after losing two of three at Chicago over the weekend.
"I do scoreboard watch. I wonder how the Angels are doing every day," manager Mike Scioscia told the team's official website following Sunday's 4-2 loss.
Los Angeles has lost six of nine, and its last four losses have all been charged to the bullpen. Its relievers have been tagged for 18 runs and 23 hits, including four homers, in 10 2-3 innings over those defeats.
Weaver (14-1, 2.29 ERA) will try to get the Angels back on track and continue his success against Oakland.
He has won eight straight starts and matched a career high with nine consecutive victories originally set May 27-Aug. 18, 2006, to start his career. The Angels improved to 16-3 in his starts this year after he gave up two runs and five hits in 6 1-3 innings of a 6-2 win over the Rangers on Tuesday.
The AL Cy Young Award candidate and the league's ERA leader has a 1.85 ERA over his last 11 starts and also defeated the Athletics on April 16. He gave up a solo homer and two other hits in eight innings of a 3-1, 11-inning victory May 23 in his most recent start against them.
Weaver is 4-2 with a 1.51 ERA in his last eight starts against Oakland. He went 6 2-3 scoreless innings during a victory in April against the A's at home.
While Los Angeles is looking up at Oakland in the standings after the A's torrid run in July, the Angels may be facing them at the right time.
After losing two of three to Tampa Bay, Oakland settled for a split of a four-game set with Toronto after dropping the final two games.
On Sunday, Tommy Milone couldn't protect a 4-1 lead, allowing six runs and nine hits over six innings as the Athletics fell 6-5.
Josh Reddick hit a three-run home run for Oakland, which has lost four of six after winning 19 of 23. The A's had a 2.99 ERA during that 23-game stretch, but a 3.62 mark since.
"We've been on the field a lot in high-pressure situations throughout very long games, so it mounts on you a little bit," manager Bob Melvin said. "The schedule on top of that has not been in our favor in that we've played so many games in a row. We do finally have an off day after the Angels series, but it's something you go through over the course of a season a couple times."
The Athletics hand the ball to Jarrod Parker (7-5, 3.44), who has been inconsistent of late.
Parker had a 2.46 ERA on July 2, but since has gone 2-2 with a 6.07 ERA since. He allowed three runs and eight hits in six innings of a 4-1 loss to Tampa Bay on Wednesday.
The right-hander pitched well versus Weaver in May, allowing one run and five hits while striking out eight over seven innings.
|Los Angeles Angels|
|July 30, 2012||Mark Trumbo||Day-to-Day||Back spasms|
|July 30, 2012||Dan Haren||Day-to-Day||Back stiffness|
|July 29, 2012||Mike Trout||Day-to-Day||Left knee contusion|
|July 28, 2012||Scott Downs||15-Day DL||Left shoulder strain|
|July 22, 2012||Erick Aybar||15-Day DL||Fractured big right toe|
|July 09, 2012||Jordan Walden||15-Day DL||Strained right biceps|
|August 05, 2012||A.J. Griffin||15-Day DL||Strained right shoulder|
|August 04, 2012||A.J. Griffin||Day-to-Day||Sore right shoulder|
|August 03, 2012||Seth Smith||15-Day DL||Left hamstring strain|
|August 03, 2012||Yoenis Cespedes||Day-to-Day||Left game - sprained right wrist|
|July 28, 2012||Coco Crisp||Day-to-Day||Left game - Left hamstring tightness|
|July 20, 2012||Cliff Pennington||15-Day DL||Left elbow tendinitis|
OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) -- Jered Weaver gave the Los Angeles Angels all the relief they needed.
Weaver pitched a four-hitter for his major-league leading 15th victory, and the Angels beat the Oakland Athletics 4-0 on Monday night to overtake the final spot in the crowded AL wild card standings. After a burned-out bullpen was taxed while losing four of the previous five, the Angels ace gave the staff a much-needed night off.
"He's one of the best," catcher Chris Iannetta said. "And that's what the best do."
Weaver (15-1) struck out nine, walked none and faced the minimum through 4 1-3 innings. The right-hander has won nine straight and a career-best 10 consecutive decisions since his only loss of the season May 13 against Texas, ranking second in franchise history to Jarrod Washburn , who won 12 consecutive decisions in 2002.
"There's really no answer," Weaver said about his impressive run. "Things have been going my way."
Erick Aybar singled three times and scored twice in his first game back from the disabled list to move Los Angeles (59-51) ahead of Oakland (58-51) and Baltimore (58-51) by one victory. Detroit (59-50) is in line for the other wild card spot.
Jarrod Parker (7-6) allowed four runs and nine hits in 6 2-3 innings. He struck out six and walked one in Oakland's third straight loss and major-league leading 13th shutout this season.
"Jered did his job on the other side and I just needed to be better," Parker said. "When I start to aim that's when I get into trouble."
All the offense Weaver wanted came in typical Angels fashion.
Kendrys Morales doubled leading off the second and scored on a two-out single by Aybar, who had been on the disabled list since July 22 with a broken big toe on his right foot. Mike Trout singled home Aybar two batters later to give the Angels a 2-0 lead.
Trout also stole second in the first, second and eighth innings to extend his franchise record to 27 straight steals without being caught. He leads the majors with 36 stolen bases.
"He wreaks havoc out there," Parker said.
The Angels center fielder also singled to open the fifth but was called out sliding head-first into second on right fielder Josh Reddick 's 13th assist. Trout immediately hopped up, furiously waving his hands and screaming at second base umpire Bill Miller in protest. Trout had to be restrained by both base coaches and manager Mike Scioscia .
In the end, the only motions that mattered came on the mound.
Weaver worked his way through the A's lineup with relative ease, facing the minimum through 4 1-3 innings. The right-hander erased the only base runner during that time - a single by Brandon Inge leading off the bottom of the third - when he got Eric Sogard to ground into an inning-ending double play.
The Angels ace struck out the side in the fifth despite allowing a one-out single to Brandon Moss and didn't allow a runner on second until the sixth, when Eric Sogard reached on a groundout to second and advanced on Coco Crisp 's ground out. Jemile Weeks popped up too short to end the inning.
"You always want that lead dog," Scioscia said of Weaver. "And Weave is that lead dog."
After consecutive singles by Aybar and Chris Iannetta in the seventh, Torii Hunter lined a two-run single up the middle to extend the Angels' lead to 4-0 and give Weaver more than enough room for error. Weaver now 11 career complete games and three this season, including a no-hitter against Minnesota on May 2.
"He's extremely frustrating," A's catcher Derek Norris said.
The one hitter Weaver never had to face has made all the difference for Oakland this season.
Yoenis Cespedes did not start for the second time in three games as he recovers from a right wrist sprain. After sitting out Saturday, he went 0 for 4 on Sunday, and A's manager Bob Melvin said Cespedes' wrist bothered the outfielder in his final two at-bats. Cespedes is day to day.
The A's are 46-29 when Cespedes starts and 12-22 when he doesn't.
NOTES: The Angels optioned SS Andrew Romine to Triple-A Salt Lake to clear space for Aybar on the roster. ... Oakland SS Cliff Pennington (left elbow) was scheduled to play three more games with Triple-A Sacramento and could rejoin the A's by the weekend. ... Oakland RHP Bartolo Colon (8-8, 3.55 ERA) takes the mound opposite against Angels lefty C.J. Wilson (9-7, 3.27 ERA) on Tuesday.
Antonio Gonzalez can be reached at: www.twitter.com/agonzalezAP