Wednesday, May 2, 2012
Chris Iannetta has a close call
By Mark Saxon
Chris Iannetta nearly stood between Jered Weaver and the second perfect game in Angels history. Or, make that, didn't stand between it.
Until Weaver's seventh-inning walk of Josh Willingham -- facilitated by umpire Ed Hickox denying the Angels' appeal of a two-strike checked swing -- Iannetta's second-inning passed ball was the only Twins base runner in Wednesday night's no-hitter.
For Iannetta, trying to establish chemistry with a new pitching staff, that would have been an awkward spot. Weaver said he never talked to Iannetta about it as the game continued and, given the fact he was trying to make history, it's hard to blame him. Iannetta was able to shake it off.
"We were just thinking of getting guys out. That's the name of the game," Iannetta said. "It was a pitch up in the zone. I made my best effort to get to it, but I couldn’t reach it."
Weaver hasn't made it a secret that he will miss Jeff Mathis, who had caught the overriding majority of Weaver's starts since he became one of the elite pitchers in the American League two seasons ago. There were times in spring training when his chemistry with Iannetta, who came in a trade from the Colorado Rockies, seemed to be far from perfect.
So, Wednesday might have strengthened a bond that could be at the core of what the Angels are trying to accomplish this season.
"I shook him off maybe twice the whole game," Weaver said. "We had a game plan and stuck to it. He threw down the right fingers and, any time you're on the same page, you don't have to think about stuff while you're out there, just get the ball, go into your windup, throw the ball to the plate. It helps you out tremendously."