Saturday, July 2, 2011
Jered Weaver makes a fine pitch to start All-Star Game
By Pedro Moura
Jered Weaver seems a good bet to start for the AL in the All-Star Game, but that's not something he wants to talk about just yet.
ANAHEIM -- He’ll get one more official opportunity to showcase his stuff before Texas Rangers manager Ron Washington sits down to determine his starting pitcher for this month’s 2011 All-Star Game, but Angels ace Jered Weaver did a mighty fine job proving his candidacy in a 7-1 win over the Los Angeles Dodgers on Saturday.
Facing the Dodgers just six days after earning a no-decision in a tough battle in L.A., Weaver was dominant in eight innings of work Saturday. In outdueling Dodgers left-hander Clayton Kershaw, he allowed just six baserunners -- two on walks, the first time in a month he has walked more than one -- and struck out eight Dodgers to earn his team-leading 10th win and lower his ERA to 1.92.
“Weav pitched terrific baseball,” Angels manager Mike Scioscia said. “He just kept pounding the zone, and, as the game went on, changed speeds a little bit more.
“He pitched a good ballgame.”
He has been pitching good ballgames pretty regularly this season. Weaver hasn’t given up more than four runs in any of his 18starts this season. He has given up only one earned run or fewer in six of his last eight starts, and he’s now only the second Angel in franchise history with 10 wins and a sub-2.00 ERA on or before July 2.
The question now is whether he’ll get the formal nod from Washington to take the mound. It appears he has a good chance, his most probable competition coming in the form of Detroit Tigers right-hander also slated for a Sunday start just two days before the All-Star Game in Phoenix, meaning he’d be ineligible to pitch in the game per MLB rules instituted last year.
“It’s a great honor, and I’m sure he’s going to get consideration,” Scioscia said of the 28-year-old Weaver. “It’ll be something, certainly, for him to look forward to.”
Other potential starters include Boston’s Josh Beckett, Oakland’s Gio Gonzalez and Tampa Bay’s James Shields, but Weaver has a better win-loss record and ERA than all three of them. He's also second in the league in innings pitched behind Verlander.
He insists the possibility is not on his mind.
“I’m not really worried about that right now,” Weaver said after Saturday’s game. “There’s been a lot of talk about it, but I’ve gotten hyped up about before and I’ve learned if it happens, it happens and if not, it doesn’t.
“We’ve got some things to concentrate on before any of that goes on, and that’s winning ballgames.”
A year ago, Weaver was considered a likely candidate to make the All-Star team on his own merit, but he was passed over in favor of the likes of the Yankees’ C.C. Sabathia and the Indians’ Fausto Carmona. He made the team later as a replacement for Oakland’s Trevor Cahill, but he wasn’t available to pitch in the game because of MLB’s new Sunday restrictions.
That was Weaver’s first time on the team, having missed out in 2009 despite a 10-3 record and 3.22 ERA at the break.
He sounded Saturday as if he wanted to stay away from any predictions on his participation in this season's game. But surely he’ll make the team. The only unknown is whether he’ll start.
Said Weaver: “We’ll see what happens, but it’d be a great thing.”