Coming into the season, some Angels fans were very worried about Jered Weaver. I count myself among those that had seen the decline of his fastball over the years, and who had tracked his continued troubles whenever pitching away from his Big A stomping grounds, and thought that it could spell disaster for the team in 2016. I am also proud to report that I was one of those same very fans that had to eat a hefty portion of crow in the month of April, as we saw Jered Weaver looking rather sharp and going 3-0 to kick off the season.
Weaver was not only proving the haters and doubters wrong, but he was feeding off of those vibes and channeling them into some solid, crafty outings. Suddenly, I was relieved. The nightmarish hellscape of Jered Weaver road starts that I had been envisioning throughout all of Spring Training was nowhere to be found...that is, until the Angels went to Milwaukee. Nobody even saw it coming, much like the titular Great White killing machine in Jaws, or the Joker in The Dark Knight. We had been lulled into a false sense of security, and then BAM...Road Weaver materializes out of thin air, and the first game of this interleague series against the Brewers all of a sudden became a straight up horror show.
Weaver was doing okay before the fifth inning, when everything went black. The first few innings saw Weaver doing his usual work with batters, using his breaking stuff along with great fastball placement to get through the lineup. Meanwhile, the Angels had gotten on the board almost immediately in this game in the first, with a Yunel Escobar double, a Rafael Ortega bunt(Scioscialism) and then a Mike Trout RBI single. Four innings with a 1-0 lead over the home team and a Weaver who was cruising through Milwaukee's hitters would be the high point of this game, and I hope you enjoyed it while you could.
In the fifth, Weaver was hit with a deluge of hits and runs that would seemingly carry right on over to the fifth. It started with RBI singles from Yadiel Rivera and Jimmy Nelson, and was garnished with a two-run double from Jonathan Lucroy. With that, the Angels now found themselves in a 4-1 hole that seems to get more and more familiar to them every week.
Weaver managed to get out without further damage, or rather, the Brewers decided to take a little break and they just resumed the butt kicking in the next side. In the sixth, Weaver continued to get abused, giving up another RBI single to Yadiel Rivera; that would prove to be the end of Weaver's night on the mound, but he was still responsible for some runners on base. Reliever Greg Mahle didn't do him any favors, as he gave up a big, two run double to Jonathan Villar and with that, the book(probably the Necronomicon or something equally scary) on Weaver was closed. Our first sighting of the Weaver we fear gave us the ghastly stat line of 5.0 IP, 11 H, 7 R, 7 ER, 2 BB and 3 K. MY EYES!
Mahle would allow a run of his own in that dismal sixth, putting the score at 8-1, Brewers in the driver's seat after having just run over the Halos for two back to back innings. Once again, like the first couple games in Texas, they were not only losing, but they were getting walloped on the scoreboard.
The Angels had one bright spot, and that was the same bright spot that they always have, regardless of how much they're making us want to throw our TVs out the window: Mike friggin' Trout. Trout was deadly out there at the plate tonight, going 4-5 with a homer, two RBI and three runs scored. Another stellar night for the best player in MLB, but it would have taken at least one, maybe two, more Mike Trout's to offset the Road Weaver destruction. Of course, the Angels did tack on some more runs toward the end of the game, off of the Brewers bullpen, but it was too little, too late, too whatever dude.
Angels take the L with a final of 8-5. Pitching was an issue. Mike Trout was not. Water is wet. Seriously, though, the BREWERS?!?
Road Weaver is back...but is this just a freak sighting? A jump-scare in the form of a starting pitcher? Maybe we all should have held off on the adulation and surprised satisfaction to his start this year; I mean, Weaver said he uses that stuff to motivate him, so did the Haterade well run dry? We'll find out soon enough, I'm sure, but I will probably be too afraid to look.