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Los Angeles Angels: 5 Reasons for Jered Weaver's May Collapse

Nathan TannerContributor IIIMay 26, 2011

Los Angeles Angels: 5 Reasons for Jered Weaver's May Collapse

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    ANAHEIM, CA - MAY 23:  Jered Weaver #36 of the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim pitches in the second inning against the Oakland Athletics during the game at Angel Stadium of Anaheim on May 23, 2011 in Anaheim, California.  (Photo by Joe Scarnici/Getty Image
    Joe Scarnici/Getty Images

    Jered Weaver stormed out of the gates at the start of the season.

    He recorded a win in each of his first six starts, finished April with a 0.99 ERA, and appeared to be the front-runner for the AL Cy Young award.

    In May, Weaver’s performance has stagnated. He is yet to win a game this month and hasn’t enjoyed the same success he did earlier in the year.

    Let’s take a step back and compare Weaver’s April and May stats.

    March/April: W-L: 6-0, ERA: 0.99, WHIP: 0.79, BAA: .163, K/BB: 4.9

    May to date: W-L: 0-4, ERA: 4.35, WHIP: 1.32, BAA: .268, K/BB: 2.6

    Weaver has regressed in every statistical category and looks like a completely different pitcher. Even opponents have noticed his struggles.

    After Weaver gave up four earned runs in a loss to Texas, ESPN quoted Rangers second baseman Ian Kinsler as saying, "Honestly, I don't think he had his best stuff." 

    Something is clearly wrong with Jered Weaver. What could it be?

    Here are five reasons for Weaver’s recent collapse.

5. Weaver Pitches Better in April Than May

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    ANAHEIM, CA - MAY 23:  Jered Weaver #36 of the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim pitches in the second inning against the Oakland Athletics during the game at Angel Stadium of Anaheim on May 23, 2011 in Anaheim, California.  (Photo by Joe Scarnici/Getty Image
    Joe Scarnici/Getty Images

    Jered Weaver has a history of starting the season off strong and then trailing off.

    Looking at his performance last season, he was much better in April than May. Here are the numbers:

    April 2010: W-L: 3-0, ERA: 2.53

    May 2010: W-L: 1-2,  ERA: 3.44

    While this is only a small sample size, Weaver’s stats, just like this season, show a clear drop off in May.

4. Weaver Faced Better Competition

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    BOSTON, MA - MAY 02:  Jacoby Ellsbury #2 of the Boston Red Sox scores a run as Jered Weaver #36 of the Los Angeles Angels stands behind home plate on May 2, 2011 at Fenway Park in Boston, Massachusetts.  (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
    Elsa/Getty Images

    Could Weaver’s struggles be tied to the fact that he’s pitched against better teams?

    Let’s look at the combined records of the teams he has faced as well as the total runs scored by those teams.

    Weaver’s April opponents currently have a combined record of 119-121 while the teams he faced in May are 125-110.

    His April opponents have scored a total of 988 runs this season while the teams he faced in May are 992.

    While the difference may be small, Weaver has faced teams with better records and more runs scored in the month of May.

     

    * Statistics are as of Monday, May 23

3. Weaver Received Less Run Support

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    ANAHEIM, CA - MAY 07:  Jered Weaver #36 of the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim throws a pitch against the Cleveland Indians on May 7, 2011 at Angel Stadium in Anaheim, California.  (Photo by Stephen Dunn/Getty Images)
    Stephen Dunn/Getty Images

    Weaver’s impressive 6-0 record through April was made possible by good run support by his Angels teammates.

    In the five games he started in April, the Halos scored 21 runs while he was on the mound. In his five May starts, they have scored only seven runs.

    To look at it in a different way, Weaver’s run support has been three times worse in May than in April.

    While that doesn’t effect most of his statistics, run support clearly hurts his W-L record.

2. Weaver Was Overworked in April

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    ANAHEIM, CA - MAY 07:  Jered Weaver #36 of the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim reacts after giving up a two RBI double to Shin-Soo Choo of the Cleveland Indians on May 7, 2011 at Angel Stadium in Anaheim, California.  (Photo by Stephen Dunn/Getty Images)
    Stephen Dunn/Getty Images

    Following his May 13 start against the Rangers, Weaver hinted that he might be getting overworked.

    ESPN.com quoted Weaver as saying, “I don't know if it's a matter of a little dead arm or what not."

    The statistics back him up. In 2011, Weaver has definitely thrown more pitches than usual. In April, he threw 115 pitches per game and pitched a total of 39.1 innings.

    Last April, he threw only 106 pitches per game and pitched a total of 32 innings. In 2010, he threw 109 pitches per game.

    Weaver has been a workhorse for the Angels this year and it looks like he could be feeling some fatigue.

1. Weaver Simply Regressed to the Mean

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    TEMPE, AZ - FEBRUARY 21: Jered Weaver #36 of the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim poses during their photo day at Tempe Diablo Stadium on February 21, 2011 in Tempe, Arizona.  (Photo by Rob Tringali/Getty Images)
    Rob Tringali/Getty Images

    Jered Weaver had an amazing start to the 2011 season. Since 1919, only 12 other pitchers have started 6-0 with an ERA less than 1.00.

    Throughout his career, Weaver has a 3.45 ERA and a 70-43 record. He has always had great stuff, but was it really fair to expect him to pitch for an entire season the way he did in April?

    I argue that Weaver’s May “collapse” wasn’t a collapse at all, but a regression to the mean. He pitched well above average the first month of the season and below average in the second month.

    I expect Weaver’s performance for the rest of the season to be somewhere in between—not as good as April, but not as bad as May.

    Even with his “collapse,” he has still put up impressive numbers. He currently has a 2.35 ERA, a 1.00 WHIP and a 6-4 record.

    Most pitchers would kill for those stats.

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