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Jered Weaver's velocity no better in second start for Angels

April 08, 2013|By Bill Shaikin
  • Angels ace Jered Weaver has thrown in the 84-87 mph range in his first two starts this season.
Angels ace Jered Weaver has thrown in the 84-87 mph range in his first two… (Brandon Wade / Getty Images )

The Angels scoffed at the radar gun readings at Great American Ball Park. Jered Weaver's fastball registered in the 84-87 mph range there on opening day, and the Angels suggested that the gun in Cincinnati was a little on the slow side.

Weaver, the Angels' ace, made his second start of the season on Sunday, against the Texas Rangers at the Ballpark in Arlington. The radar gun there had his fastball in the very same range: 84-87 mph.

Neither game was played in optimal conditions, with unusually cold weather in Cincinnati and gusting winds in Texas. If the trend holds, however, Weaver would be pitching with a fastball down about 2 mph from last season and about 4 mph from his prime, according to data posted on fangraphs.com.

Weaver never boasted a 95-mph fastball. In 2012, even with diminished velocity, he led the American League in winning percentage and gave up the fewest hits (per nine innings) of any starter in the league.

If Weaver can maintain his effectiveness, his ability to pitch deep into games might become a significant issue for the Angels. In his career, he has pitched an average of 6.4 innings per start, the best among the Angels starters.

In aligning the Angels' rotation, Manager Mike Scioscia slotted C.J. Wilson and Tommy Hanson -- statistically prone toward shorter starts -- at No. 2 and No. 4, respectively. If Weaver's starts become shorter because his innings become more challenging, a rebuilt bullpen would be challenged to pick up the slack.

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