Weber continues to impress for Braves
ATLANTA -- Ryan Weber and Bartolo Colon don't have much in common. But when it comes to how they pitch, you can see there are plenty of similarities.
Weber tossed seven innings of one-run baseball in the Braves' 2-1 win over the Phillies on Saturday night, striking out five and walking two while allowing just two hits. By the estimation of shortstop Andrelton Simmons, who played alongside the rookie right-hander when the two were in the minors, this sort of performance is why he compares Weber to the Mets' 42-year-old crafty starter.
"On a normal day he's like Colon a little bit," Simmons said. "He's going to come right at you. He's got movement. He works with the offspeed a little bit. Most of the time it's easy ground balls."
Going off Simmons' definition of a normal day for Weber, Saturday certainly was one. The 25-year-old struggled a little in the early going, allowing two singles and a run to score in the second inning, but afterward he settled into a groove.
Weber followed up the two singles by inducing a 3-6-3 double play off the bat of Phillies third baseman Cody Asche, then retired 16 of the next 17 he faced. The only base runner he allowed was a walk to first baseman Darin Ruf, but that walk was followed by another unorthodox double play, this one a 1-6-3 Weber started himself.
In all, Weber forced a Colon-ian nine groundball outs including the two double plays. After Darnell Sweeney flew out to end the third inning, no Phillies player hit a ball on a line or a fly again until Weber left the game, as the last 12 outs Weber recorded were all either via groundout or strikeout.
To Weber, who was making his third career Major League start and his second against the Phillies, Saturday's success stemmed from the way he varied his pitches compared to his previous outings.
"My changeup definitely improved and my curveballs early in the count were much better than my previous starts," Weber said.
Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez said he is impressed with how Weber has thrown in his first three starts, but doesn't want to pin him with a blue ribbon just yet.
"He's pitched well. He does a lot of good stuff," Gonzalez said. "And I say let's slow play it because he's a young kid. You don't want to all of the sudden name him Greg Maddux. But you know what, he competes."
As justified as Gonzalez is in not wanting big-time comparisons for Weber to be bandied around, Simmons' Colon comparison may stick if Weber can stick around in the Majors. But there's one difference between the two. It took Colon 18 career starts to record an outing of at least seven innings with one or fewer run allowed.
It took Weber three.