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Thursday, June 27, 2013
Angels sweep Tigers, but Astros (yes, Astros) loom

By Kenton Wong
ESPN Stats and Information


Otto Greule Jr/Getty ImagesJered Weaver was solid Thursday, but is a drop in velocity a cause for concern?
The Los Angeles Angels completed an impressive sweep of the Detroit Tigers on Thursday, becoming the first team to sweep the AL Central leaders in Detroit this season. In fact, the Angels have won all six meetings with the Tigers by outscoring them 46-17.

Houston, we have a problem
But there is really no time to celebrate those wins because the Angels have a big series this weekend against the Houston Astros. The Halos have inexplicably played some of their worst baseball this season against Houston – the worst team in the American League.

The Astros have a total of 30 wins, second-fewest in baseball behind only the Miami Marlins. But they are 7-3 against the Angels. That’s nearly a quarter of their wins. Two of those losses for the Angels were shutouts and in two others the offense scored just one run.

Weaver running out of gas?

Jered Weaver had to settle for another no-decision Thursday and is still stuck on one win on the season. In his eight starts, four have seen him allow exactly one run, while in his other four starts -- all losses -- he has given up four runs or more.

The big problem for Weaver the rest of this year and in the future is his drop in velocity. The best season of his career was in 2011 when he posted a 7.0 WAR. That year Weaver's fastball averaged 89 mph. It dropped to 88 mph last season and an alarming 86 mph this season. Weaver will have to find a way to adapt to this new velocity by being even finer with his location or suffer through the inconsistency that has befallen other velocity victims like Tim Lincecum.

Weaver's contract runs through the 2016 season and has $54 million remaining.

Friday's matchup
Jerome Williams (LAA) vs Dallas Keuchel (HOU)
Dallas Keuchel
Keuchel
Jerome Williams
Williams
After serving as a reliever all of April and then a starter all of May, Williams has had split duty in June. For the most part, the Hawaii native has kept the Angels in games during his starts.

Williams has had a lot of success with offspeed pitches this year. Opponents are hitting .129 against his curveball and .034 against his changeup -- which ranks best in baseball among pitchers to throw at least 100 changeups.