Jered Weaver has returned from a lower back injury that sidelined him for three weeks. In his absence, the Los Angeles Angels were able to pick him up and go on an eight-game winning streak that vaulted them right back into the American League West race. Without him, the Angels are a very good team, but with him, they’re a threat to go deep into the postseason.
Here are 10 ways his return impacts the team.
Jered Weaver is the true ace of the Los Angeles Angels, and with a 2.31 ERA and an 8-1 record, he has the numbers to back it up. Not only is he the team’s best hurler, but he’s one of the best in the American League when he’s healthy.
The Angels have already shown how dangerous of a team they can be without Weaver, with young players like Garrett Richards stepping up in his absence. Richards was 2-0 in two spot starts for the injured Weaver, and the team kept rolling.
With arguably their best player back in the rotation, they can match up with any team in baseball.
Defense is critical in close games, and when Weaver is dealing, he takes a lot of pressure off the infielders and outfielders due to his effectiveness. Any time the defense doesn’t have to work as hard, they can focus on hitting.
Speaking of relief, the Angels bullpen has been growing up before everyone’s eyes. One of the best surprises of the year has been Ernesto Frieri. With a 0.80 ERA and nine saves, he has embraced his new role.
The transition has been easier for him due to the strength of the starters, especially Weaver.
Just like hitting, good pitching is contagious, and players like Ervin Santana can use the positive energy that Weaver brings to the rotation to overcome some of the challenges they’ve faced this season.
It takes a total team effort to win consistently, and Weaver’s return bodes well for all of the starters.
Losses are simply a way of life in the big leagues. Sometimes, those losses seem to get strung together for no particular reason.
Weaver has the ability to right the ship any time that happens.
The eight-game streak in late May was a godsend for the Angels, who were in the middle of closing the gap in the division race against the Texas Rangers. That was done without a start from Weaver.
With him, the team can roll toward another pile of wins.
Like the Angels, the Rangers are on a torrid pace and currently lead the AL West by 4.5 games. That’s impressive considering the stellar play of the Angels.
When the Rangers finally lose a few games, the Angels need to be ready to strike—and Weaver gives them the best chance to do exactly that.
There’s a lot of youth on the Angels’ pitching staff. They have the privilege to watch one of the best in their profession work every fifth day and prepare like the elite player that he is.
That can only be a positive for players trying to test the major league waters and get a feel for how the game is supposed to be played at the highest level.
The Angels want the fans engaged, and though a marquee player like Albert Pujols certainly brings in his share of fans, Weaver has the ability to generate excitement every time he touches the ball.
It’s not just fans in Southern California who enjoy watching him work, either. He also receives national attention because he’s one of the best pitchers in the game today.