Jered Weaver struck out 11--including a half dozen in a row--en route to a six-inning, three-hit, one-run outing while earning the win over the Lancaster JetHawks Saturday night. Weaver has now won his last three starts but, more importantly, pitched the best game of his four-week-old professional career.
Fellow Scott Boras client, June 2004 draftee, and holdout Stephen Drew went 0-for-2 against Weaver. Hitting third, Drew struck out swinging to end the first inning, walked in the fourth, and flied out to left in the sixth. The shortstop was the first of six consecutive strikeouts for the 6-foot-7 right-hander from Long Beach State.
After a reasonably impressive debut, Weaver was hit hard by the Stockton Ports and the Lake Elsinore Storm in his next two starts. He righted the ship in his fourth outing vs. Bakersfield and followed that up with a strong performance last Monday against High Desert. Saturday night's game was the first time Weaver completed six innings this year.
IP H R ER BB SO 6/20/05 3.0 3 1 1 2 4 -- 6/25/05 2.1 5 4 4 0 5 (L, 0-1) 6/30/05 4.0 8 7 5 1 4 -- 7/05/05 5.0 2 2 0 0 7 (W, 1-1) 7/11/05 5.2 3 3 3 1 8 (W, 2-1) 7/16/05 6.0 3 1 1 1 11 (W, 3-1)
H/9 SO/9 BB/9 K/BB HR/9 WHIP ERA 8.31 13.50 1.73 7.80 1.04 1.15 4.85
Over his last three starts, Weaver has thrown 16 2/3 innings, allowing 8 hits, 6 runs (4 earned), and 2 walks, while striking out 26. He has gradually increased his pitch count from approximately 50 toward 100 and his arm strength apparently is close to where he was a little over a year ago when he led the Dirtbags to the Super Regionals and was honored by winning all of the collegiate player of the year awards.
In total, Weaver has K'd 36% of the batters faced. By comparison, Johan Santana and Pedro Martinez, the respective leaders in the American and National Leagues, have whiffed 28% of the hitters. Of the 78 outs, Jered has gotten 39 of them by strikes, 10 on the ground, 27 via the air, one pickoff, and another trying to stretch a single into a double. Weaver has given up three home runs but only one in his last 20 innings of work.
Now that Weaver has found his groove after a long layoff, I would expect that the Angels will promote him to Arkansas, their Double-A affiliate in the Texas League, sooner rather than later. Former teammate Howie Kendrick (.384/.421/.638) was called up to Arkansas on Saturday prior to the game. Look for Quakes shortstop Brandon Wood (.307/.371/.656), who slugged his minor-league-leading 30th home run on Wednesday, to join his longtime keystone partner before the year is out.
In the meantime, Drew is tearing up the California League and should be in line for a promotion to Tennessee, Arizona's Double-A affiliate in the Southern League.
G AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI TB BB SO SB CS AVG OBP SLG 24 94 22 35 10 2 8 28 73 15 19 0 0 .372 .464 .777
Weaver is scheduled to face the Inland Empire 66ers for the first time on Thursday, July 21. Another dominating performance could send the four-million-dollar man from his native California to Little Rock, Arkansas before the month is out. You know, he just might be a Traveler in more ways than one.