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Angels survive a woozy Jered Weaver

Starting pitcher doesn't feel well and can't get out of the fourth inning, but offense continues to produce.

July 19, 2009|BILL SHAIKIN

OAKLAND — The Angels have an identity crisis. They ought to solve it soon, lest October be removed from their schedule.

The team branded with the gutty little offense and the powerful pitching staff has it all backward.

The Angels have scored the most runs of any team in the American League this month. They also have given up the most runs in the league this month.

And so it went in Saturday's 11-6 victory over the Oakland Athletics. Chone Figgins led off the game with a home run, Erick Aybar drove in a career-high four runs and every player in the starting lineup had a hit -- by the fifth inning.

The Angels scored six runs in the third inning, giving Jered Weaver a 7-0 lead. Weaver did not survive the fourth, his shortest start since July 22 of last season.

Weaver developed a case of what Manager Mike Scioscia called "the shakes" in the first inning and started sweating excessively.

"We were trying to keep getting fluids in him," Scioscia said. "He just ran out of gas."

Weaver said he suddenly felt "a little nauseous and woozy." He would not even acknowledge that much until he was told Scioscia already had revealed the condition.

"There's been some stuff going around," Weaver said. "I haven't felt like that in a while. It was kind of a bummer. No excuses."

He gave up five runs, eight hits and three walks in 3 2/3 innings. Darren Oliver, Jason Bulger, Kevin Jepsen and Matt Palmer held the A's to one run and three hits over the final 5 1/3 innings.

If Weaver is wearing down, the Angels could have an enormous problem, given that Ervin Santana and Joe Saunders have pitched unevenly as of late and that the fifth spot is basically vacant.

On June 14, Weaver threw his first career shutout, on a career-high 119 pitches. He was 7-2, with a 2.08 earned-run average, and he had pitched beyond six innings in nine of 13 starts.

In six starts since then, he has pitched beyond six innings once. In that span, he is 3-1 with a 7.29 ERA.

Weaver said his arm feels "great." Scioscia said he did not believe Weaver was enduring the dead-arm phase that pitchers sometimes experience over the course of a season.

"A guy is not going to go out there with his best stuff for 33 starts a year," Scioscia said. "At times, he might be a little out of sync, which is what starters go through periodically. He can still go out and give us a chance to win."

The Angels' offense has more than done that.

Torii Hunter and Vladimir Guerrero are on the disabled list, Bobby Abreu was the designated hitter Saturday and Juan Rivera left in the third inning because of a tight hamstring, so the Angels played most of the game with an outfield of Robb Quinlan in left field, Gary Matthews Jr. in center and Reggie Willits in right.

Matthews had his first three-hit game this season. The Angels scored nine runs or more for the sixth time in 11 games, and they're averaging 7.1 runs this month.

Figgins, Aybar, Abreu, Rivera and Maicer Izturis all are batting above .300, with Mike Napoli at .295 and Kendry Morales at .291.

"We're not one of those teams that hits home runs," Figgins said. "We keep hitting line drives and hard ground balls."

But what about the home run he hit?

"A line drive," Figgins said. "A little too high."


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