Today is The Day for Jered Weaver To Step Up & Keep the Angels in 1st Place

For a couple of days following the devastating injury to Garrett Richards, the Angels showed up and played extremely well, increasing their American League West lead over Oakland to two full games. Then however, they traveled to Oakland for a three-game series, and things turned around, and not for the good. LA lost the first two against the A’s, 5-3 and 2-1, and when the teams take the field this afternoon, they will find themselves in a tie for first place.

For several years, Jered Weaver was the unquestioned ace of the Angels’ staff, the go-to guy who ended losing streaks and was the guy you wanted on the mound whenever a win meant something important. In 2012, Weaver had a career year, winning 20 against only five losses, and with a 2.81 ERA and 1.02 WHIP. But early last season he suffered a broken left elbow, and he pretty well missed the first two months of the season. Though it was not an injury to his pitching arm, he pitched well upon his return, but without the same

dominance he had consistently displayed over the prior seven seasons, finishing with an 11-8 record and a 3.27 ERA. This year has largely been more of the same, he's winning with a 13-7 record, but his 3.70 ERA and 1.23 WHIP are indicative of more inconsistency and waning dominance. Today, against Oakland, with a two-game losing streak, first place on the line, and a serious emotional need for a giant pick-up, Weaver must deliver a dominant performance.
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Weaver was more than dominant against the A’s from 2001-2013, putting up an 8-1 record with a 0.87 ERA in 11 starts. This year has been a different story, as in two starts against Oakland he’s 0-2, having given up nine earned runs in 11 innings. The A’s will start former Angels’ starter Scott Kazmir, whose career took a significant nosedive while an Angel, but whose comeback has been close to spectacular, with him in the midst of his finest season by far.

The Angels acquired Kazmir from Tampa Bay in 2009 for three young prospects, including Sean Rodriguez who has been a solid contributor for the Rays ever since. Conversely, Kazmir was 7-17 in parts of three seasons for the Angels, and was released by the team in June of 2011. After that, he could only find a spot in the independent Atlantic League for part of 2012, but 2013 saw him sign with Cleveland, where his comeback began with a respectable 10-9 record and 4.04 ERA. Based on that, somehow, someway, he signed with Oakland for 2014 and 2015 for an amazing sum of $22 million, and the A’s have been well

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rewarded. Kazmir's best win total had been his 13 of 2007, but today, at the age of 30, after his four-year period of underachievement, he is 14-5 with a 2.73 ERA, and today will try to put his team back into sole possession of first place

Also, getting increasingly worrisome is the worst slum of Mike Trout's career. During his
initial MLB tryout of late 2011, he hit only .220 over 40 games. Since beginning his everyday pay the following spring, Trout has seldom if ever seen his average drop below .300, and in fact, seldom below .320, but today his average is at .287, having hit only .221 for the month of August. Trout is close, however, to career highs in both home runs and runs batted in, but a lot of that has to do with the fact that he is no longer batting leadoff a majority of the time, but most regularly his in the second spot, with significantly more RBI opportunities. But, he has also already struck out more times than ever before in one season.

With only 34 games left to the 2014 season, both Weaver and Trout need to be the guys the team can count on starting today and down the stretch.

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