Stats & Info: Jarrod Parker

Weaver's curve is the winning pitch

August, 6, 2012
The Oakland Athletics and Los Angeles Angels kick off a critical three-game series at the Coliseum starting Monday night. Though the Texas Rangers have a sizeable lead in the AL West, the A’s and Angels are neck-and-neck in the AL Wild Card race, with Oakland a half-game ahead.

The Angels pitching has really struggled during this stretch, with a 6.02 ERA and 16 homers allowed in just 80⅔ innings. However, tonight they send their ace, Jered Weaver, to the mound as he looks for his league-leading 15th win of the season.

Jered Weaver Stats To Watch
According to the Elias Sports Bureau, he would be the sixth pitcher in the Expansion Era to record 15 wins in his first 16 decisions in a season. The only pitchers to start 15-1 since 1961 are Dave McNally (1969), Gaylord Perry (1974), Ron Guidry (1978), Roger Clemens (2001) and Ubaldo Jimenez (2010).

Weaver is on a nearly incredible run, going 9-0 with a 1.85 ERA in his last 11 starts. A win Monday would match the third-longest streak of decisions won by an Angels starter. He has also won eight straight starts, something that only Chuck Finley (10 in 1997) has done as an Angel in a single season.

Weaver has gone to curve a lot more during this undefeated stretch, nearly doubling his usage of the pitch compared to his first eight starts.

The curve has become a legitimate out-pitch for him too, as opponents are hitting .135 in at-bats ending in his hook while chasing 40 percent of those pitches in his last 11 starts.

Another key for Weaver during this stretch has been his ability to pitch under pressure. Opponents are just 2-for-31 (.065) with runners in scoring position against him in his last 11 starts; they hit .259 with RISP in his first eight starts.

Jarrod Parker Stats To Watch
Opposing Weaver will be one of the 11 rookie pitchers that Oakland has used this season, Jarrod Parker. Parker was one of the league’s best starters through the first three months of the season, posting a 2.46 ERA in his first 13 starts through July 2.

However, he struggled since then, going 2-2 with a 6.07 ERA in his last five starts. During this slump, righties are hitting .396 against him, after he held them to a .198 average in his first 13 starts.

Parker has had a lot of trouble putting hitters away, allowing a .651 OPS with two strikes in his last five starts, compared to a .419 mark in his first 13 outings.

He’s thrown his changeup more often with two strikes recently but with little success. Parker has already allowed as many two-strike hits with his changeup in his last five starts (6) as he did in his first 13 starts, in nearly half as many at-bats ending in the pitch.

AL East features pivotal matchups

June, 5, 2012
The battle in the AL East is closer than ever with all five teams separated by just three games. Each team is at least two games over .500 and no team has a negative run differential. That's impressive, considering that according to Elias, the last time prior to this season that an American League division had all of its teams at least two games above .500 at least 50 games into the season was in 2000 (AL West).

A look at some key matchups within the division tonight:

Rays at Yankees, 7:05 ET

James Shields looks to get revenge against a New York Yankees team that has owned him in his career. Shields is 5-12 with a 4.39 ERA in 22 starts against the Yankees, including 2-7 with a 5.00 ERA in 11 starts at Yankee Stadium. This season New York has tagged him for nine ER in 11 innings (7.36 ERA) over two starts. The Yankee lefties feasted, going 9-for-29 (.310), and he struck out only 9.4 percent of those batters.

Andy Pettitte faces a Tampa Bay Rays team that gave him trouble in 2010. He gave up nine ER in 7 1/3 innings (11.05 ERA) in two starts against them, and is coming off his worst start of the season (five runs, nine hits) versus the Los Angeles Angels. Pettitte tried to work away from the Angels batters, with little success, as they were 4-for-9 (.444) and missed on 2 of 19 swings (10.5 percent) against pitches on the outer third of the plate.

Orioles at Red Sox, 7:10 ET

Jason Hammel takes the mound for the Baltimore Orioles, looking to avoid losing consecutive starts for the first time since May 10th and 15th of last season. Hammel beat the Boston Red Sox at Fenway Park on May 5th, allowing two runs in 6 2/3 innings. The Red Sox struggled to make good contact against Hammel last month, fouling off a season-high 30 of 55 swings (54.5 percent).

Jon Lester gets the start for the Red Sox. Since his one-run, complete game on May 14th, Lester has allowed 15 ER in 16 2/3 innings (8.10 ERA). But the Orioles are the perfect team for him to break out of his slump against, considering he is 14-0 in 19 career starts against Baltimore. According to Elias, only three other pitchers won each of their first 14 decisions against a particular team in the Expansion Era (since 1961).

Rangers Reeling

The Texas Rangers, once the hottest team in baseball, are in a slump right now with five losses in their last six games. The offense has slipped, with three runs or fewer in four of those six games, and Monday night Texas was held hitless through the first seven innings of the game by Jarrod Parker.

However, the pitching has been even worse, as the Rangers have allowed 10+ runs in three games during this six-game slide. In their first 49 games, they gave up at least 10 runs just once.