If Los Angeles Angels fans have to hold their breath for at least three out of every five starts, they know they can breathe easy when the lanky Jered Weaver takes the mound.
Weaver is in an absolute groove over his past seven starts, yielding only 10 earned runs through 47 innings of work while striking out 40 for a 1.91 ERA.
On Wednesday, the Halos needed Weaver’s brilliance in a big way to emerge victorious over the Minnesota Twins. The righty gave up just three baserunners in eight innings on a night when not even the red-hot Mike Trout could buy a hit, as Los Angeles managed just one run on seven hits.
Weaver’s elite pitching, though welcomed by the Angels, points to a glaring weakness in the Halos rotation and in the team’s ability to produce consistently on offense. Despite the ace’s lights-out performance, the outcome of the game was in question until the last out of the ninth inning, and that is simply unacceptable for a team like the Angels.
But let’s not dwell on Los Angeles’ weaknesses, which have likely submarined their playoff hopes. Let’s instead focus on Weaver, who, after a couple shaky starts on June 10 and 15 coming off the DL, has been pitching at a Cy Young level.
Weaver has lowered his ERA from 4.65 to 2.98 during his hot streak, an ERA that would rank eighth in the AL had he not been injured for a month and a half. If he can bring that down to around 2.50-2.70 by the end of the year, then he has to at least be in the AL Cy Young conversation.
If he stays healthy, Weaver figures to log around 13 more starts by the end of the season, which would give him 26 on the year. Though this would admittedly be fewer starts than most Cy Young winners of the past, Weaver can make a strong case for himself if he continues to be lights-out down the homestretch.
For the Angels’ sake, let’s hope he stays unhittable.
Tony Baker is a Los Angeles Angels writer for Rant Sports. You can follow him on Twitter at @tonloc_baker.