The Los Angeles Angels entered the 2014 season with hopes of a strong start to the year headed by their ace pitcher Jered Weaver, but it has been a nightmarish first week.
Through seven games the Halos hold a record 3-4 with two losses coming in both of Weaver’s starts this season. He has an 0-2 record with a 6.00 ERA, 11 hits and nine runs allowed that include four home runs in 12.o innings pitched. In his last outing on Sunday against the Houston Astros, the 31-year-old gave up four home runs including three solo shots to the tune of five runs in 5.2 innings thrown.
It was not the start to the year that either Weaver or the Angels expected given the fact that both games he pitched were against favorable opponents in the Seattle Mariners and Astros, who last season held MLB‘s worst record at 51-111 and had an offense ranked in the lower half in the league in several batting categories.
The nine-year veteran’s struggles on the mound should draw some concern from Los Angeles, as he also allowed multiple runs in three out of the four starts he made in spring training in the limited amount of work he did. Weaver has been a workhorse for the Halos with five consecutive seasons of at least 30 starts and over 175.0 inning pitched prior to 2013. Last season he did not hit that mark as he missed about a month and a half of the year due to a broken right elbow. It limited him to only 24 starts in which he had an 11-8 record with a 3.27 ERA. Although Weaver was out a good portion of the season due to injury in 2013, it is not that which should concern the Angels but rather the continued the loss of his velocity.
Weaver has struggled this season to handle the loss of zip on his pitches despite the high amount of strikeouts (12 in 12.0 innings) as he has become a hittable pitcher. This is something that could not of have been said in the two years prior to 2013 as he posted a sub-3.00 ERA in each campaign. But with that said, it is still early in the 2014 season, and the 31-year-old has plenty of time to turn it around.
It will be important for Weaver to get back on track as quick as possible this year as the team’s ultimate success will lie on their pitching staff. He must lead that charge as the ace of the starting rotation.