The Los Angeles Angels in Monday’s game against the Toronto Blue Jays got a bit of scare from Jered Weaver after he exited after two innings of work, but that should not draw a high level of concern from the team.
Although Weaver did have issues with lower back stiffness on Monday, it is just that and nothing more. It is not something that will force him to go on the disabled list or miss a lengthy period of time. In actuality, his injury did come at the right time as he will likely miss just one start at most because of the fact that the All-Star break is just around the corner.
What is also encouraging about the injury is that Weaver admitted after the game that his back felt “80 times better,” and this coupled with his participation in playing catch prior to Tuesday’s game gives it the impression that he just needs a couple days of rest. This will give the 31-year-old some much-needed rest as he will be of great importance in the second half of the season as the Halos make a run to for a playoff spot and can possibly overtake the Oakland Athletics for the division crown.
Weaver has played a significant part in the team’s success up to this point in the season with the team owning the second-best record in the league at 52-36 behind the Athletics. He currently holds a 9-6 record with a 3.50 ERA, and in most aspects has been the team’s second-best pitcher behind Garrett Richards, who is in a midst of breakout year in his first campaign as a full-time starter with a 10-2 record and a team-leading 2.71 ERA. The eight-year veteran has been a reliable pitcher for the Halos for the most part in 2014 with 11 quality starts in his 19 outings, and has gone at least five innings in each of his appearances prior to Monday.
Another way to look at the injury is that the time off could be a blessing in disguise for Weaver and the Angels as it will allow him to come back refreshed and focused on getting his team to the postseason, which is somewhere they haven’t been since 2009. Prior to the injury, he was struggling to find consistency in the month of June as he had a 2-3 record with a 3.99 ERA, five home runs allowed and had given up 17 runs, which was the most he has allowed in any month this season. His pitching problems had followed him into this month as he had allowed five runs on nine hits with two home runs in just 5.2 innings pitched against the Chicago White Sox on July 1.
Weaver has had a problem this season giving up home runs as he leads the team in that category with 16 allowed, and has also allowed the most hits at 102. That said, his brief time away could be what he needs to recapture his early-season dominance that saw him go 4-1 with a 1.98 ERA in five starts in May. If he can be any essence of that or just remain a reliable pitcher in the second half of the season, his contribution to the team could be crucial in helping bring the Halos back into the postseason.