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Despite 1-4 record, Jered Weaver still leader of Angels staff

June 26, 2013|By Kevin Baxter
  • Jered Weaver has a 4.55 ERA in five games since returning from a left elbow fracture.
Jered Weaver has a 4.55 ERA in five games since returning from a left elbow… (Patrick Smith / Getty Images )

The Angels say they're not sure what, if anything, is wrong with right-hander Jered Weaver, who has lost his last three starts to fall to 1-4. But pitching coach Mike Butcher says Weaver's role as the staff ace remains unchanged -- and with that comes added responsibilities.

"Jered is an elite pitcher and the expectations are what not only does he put on himself but we expect a lot out of him as well," Butcher said of Weaver, who is scheduled to start Thursday against the Tigers in Detroit. "When you’re the leader of the staff there’s a lot of things that kind of come with it. The work ethic in between starts, what you do on your game day and all the other things."

Weaver, a 20-game winner last year, missed 45 games this spring after fracturing his left elbow in his second start. Since returning, he's gone 1-3 with a 4.55 ERA in five games. He hasn't made it to the seventh inning in eight consecutive starts, a career-long streak dating to last season. And he's given up at least four earned runs in three consecutive games for the first time since July 2009.

"There's not one issue that Weav's dealing with. It's a combination … of things," Angels Manager Mike Scioscia said. "There's a layoff involved. There's trying to work back into your stamina. There's probably a number of things that add up to him being not as crisp as he will be. Or can be."

In his most recent start last week against the Pirates at Angel Stadium, Weaver's fastball hit 90 mph twice in the first inning. But his pitches got progressively slower as the game wore on and by the fourth inning, Weaver's curveball was hovering at 70 mph and his fastball had dropped into the low 80s on the radar gun.

"I felt good," Weaver said. "Obviously, the radar readings are what they are. I'm not going to be throwing 93 anymore. Those days are gone. I just have to locate what I've got."

Butcher agreed. And even though he said the decline in velocity wasn't ideal he said Weaver's success isn't contingent on how hard he throws.

"This last outing obviously wasn’t one of his better outings," Butcher said. "Hopefully he rebounds from that and kind of gets the ball rolling in the right direction. You want to see a guy hold his velocity throughout a game. There was times throughout the game when velocity dipped lower than normal for him.

"But at the same time I don't get too alarmed of it because last year he won 20 games throwing about 86 mph. So he has different ranges of where his velocity falls into to."


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