Friday, July 20, 2012
It's difficult to take Weaver deep at home
By Katie Sharp
Gary A. Vasquez/US PresswireThe top two teams in the three of the six divisions face off this weekend as pennant races begin to heat up.
The Angels' Jered Weaver has allowed just three earned runs at home this season.
Texas Rangers at Los Angeles Angels
In the American League West, the Angels trail the Rangers by six games. It’s the Rangers largest lead since the end of June. The teams have split the first six matchups this season; however, the next two weeks could decide the race as seven of the Angels next 13 games are against Texas.
Jered Weaver starts on Friday, looking to continue his dominance at Angels Ballpark. He’s 6-0 with a 0.58 ERA at home this season, and has not allowed an earned run six of his seven home starts. Weaver’s home success is tied to his ability to keep the ball in the park and great outfield defense (see chart).
At home, the Angels defense has converted 93 percent of Weaver’s fly balls that stay in the park into outs. On the road, that percentage drops to 78.
Overall, the Angels have won each of Weaver’s last eight starts. There have been only two longer single-season streaks of wins in a pitchers’ starts in Angels history: 11 straight behind Chuck Finley in 1997, and 10 in a row with Rickey Clarke in 1967.
Chicago White Sox at Detroit Tigers
Chicago and Detroit kick off a series with the White Sox clinging to a one and-a-half game lead in the American League Central. Right now, however, the two teams are heading in opposite directions -- the Tigers have won 10 of their last 12 games, and the White Sox are 3-4 since the All-Star break.
Justin Verlander is 5-1 with a 2.04 ERA in his last seven starts, and has allowed one run over his last two starts. Although he owns a 4.13 career ERA against the White Sox, Verlander is 10-1 with a 2.33 ERA against Chicago since the start of 2009.
Opposing Verlander is Jake Peavy, who is coming off his worst start of the season (seven innings, 12 hits, six earned runs at Kansas City). Peavy’s ERA is 5.48 ERA in seven starts this season against divisional opponents. In his 11 other starts, Peavy has 1.78 ERA.
Atlanta Braves at Washington Nationals
The Nationals welcome the Braves, trying to extend their three and-a-half game lead in the National League East. The Braves have won eight of their last 10 games, but against the Nationals this season they are just 2-6.
The Braves have the luxury, if you can call it that, of facing Stephen Strasburg on Friday. Atlanta is the one team that Strasburg has not fared well against. He’s 2-3 with a 4.26 ERA and a 1.30 WHIP against the Braves. Against everyone else, Strasburg is 14-5 with a 2.36 ERA and a WHIP just over one.
Dan Uggla is 7-for-13 with two home runs and eight RBI against Strasburg. Uggla’s batting average (.538), OBP (.600), slugging percentage (1.154) and OPS (1.754) are the highest against Strasburg of any player that has faced him more than three times.