Angels ace Jered Weaver keeps chin up despite lack of run support
Jered Weaver has been one of the American League's most effective pitchers since late June, compiling a 3.24 earned run average in his last 14 starts, but the Angels' right-hander is only 4-7 in those games.
The reason? The Angels' offense has scored only 26 runs in the 14 games, including one in a 3-1 loss to the Oakland Athletics on Saturday in which Weaver gave his team another quality start, giving up three runs and six hits in seven innings.
"It is what it is," said Weaver, who is 11-11 with a 3.14 ERA and a league-leading 205 strikeouts on the season. "I can only go out there and do my job, go out there and battle."
It's not easy taking the mound in the first inning knowing one run could beat you--the Angels were shut out in each of the last three games Weaver started before Saturday, and their run in the eighth inning Saturday snapped a string of 31 1/3 innings over five games in which the Angels hadn't scored with Weaver on the mound--but Manager Mike Scioscia has been impressed with Weaver's composure.
"These guys have pitched with their backs against a wall for a long time," Scioscia said. "Jered, as much as anybody, is trying to deal with it and work through it without changing his game plan too much. What you really have to fight is that tendency to put too much pressure on every pitch, to make every pitch perfect. Overall, he’s pitching his game, and that’s really all a pitcher can do."
Though Weaver has gotten a little snippy at times with reporters, his body language on the mound has been good. If he is frustrated, it has not affected his performance.
"I was brought up not to give up," Weaver said. "My dad would kick me in the ass if he saw me out there not battling. That’s my demeanor. No matter what’s going on, I’m going to battle as best I can and let chips fall where they may. And right now they’re not falling my way."
The Angels (65-71) have been shut out six times in the last 20 games, and they are 18-27 since the All-Star break. They are now six games under .500 and 10 1/2 games behind the Texas Rangers in the American League West. They were nine games over .500 at 45-36 and only 3 1/2 games out on July 1.
Saturday, they were shut down by a very good pitcher; A's right-hander Trevor Cahill threw six shutout innings despite walking six. He gave up only four hits and struck out four.
"We’ve been struggling against good pitchers, we’ve been struggling against some pitchers we should be squaring the ball up better against, and we’ve been struggling against pitchers that we should be attacking," Scioscia said. "So, I don’t think this is just limited to good pitching. We need to get some momentum going on the offensive side, pitch by pitch, inning by inning."
--Mike DiGiovanna in Oakland
Photo: Jered Weaver works against the Orioles at Angel Stadium last month. Credit: Kirby Lee / US Presswire