Weaver getting good results, gaining velocity

Angels right-hander allows one run in seven innings against White Sox

April 21st, 2016

CHICAGO -- Jered Weaver merely repeated the same phrase late Thursday afternoon: "Carlos [Perez] called a great game, [Mike] Trout homered, [Huston] Street shut the door." He failed to mention his seven innings of one-run ball. Or his ERA, which is down to 3.12. Or his fastball velocity, now up to 86 mph.

"Good team win," Weaver said, plainly, after delivering a much-needed 3-2 victory at U.S. Cellular Field, which allowed the Angels to split their 10-game road trip and improve to 7-9.

Weaver was asked if he had anything to say about his own performance.

"I never want to talk about myself," he said.

So, Trout did it for him.

"Nothing but positives," Trout said of Weaver. "Each outing, it's getting better. [His velocity] is coming back. I thought I saw some 86 up there. But it doesn't matter to him. He's out there hitting his spots. That's how he is. He's a competitor."

Weaver's 2016 season followed a Spring Training that saw his fastball sit mostly between 79 and 81 mph. He worked through some tightness around his neck, continued to implement a strict stretching regimen, proceeded to add strength and stifled the Rangers in his season debut, holding their potent lineup to only one run in six innings at Angel Stadium.

The 33-year-old right-hander was then hit around in Minnesota, allowing four runs on eight hits while recording just 13 outs.

Then, in the finale of a four-game series, Weaver limited the White Sox to a solo home run from Melky Cabrera and nothing else. He scattered two other hits, issued a couple of walks and induced a lot of soft contact while throwing five different pitches at least 15 times.

"Everything was working well," Perez said in Spanish. "The fastball had plenty of life today, but all of his pitches were good. He was aggressive."

Weaver believed there was upside with his ever-elusive fastball velocity. Focusing so much on flexibility over the winter disallowed him from frequently lifting weights. But he was able to begin adding strength as the season approached, and over time, he felt, that added strength would give his fastball more life.

It showed up in his third start.

Weaver threw several fastballs 84-85 mph and even humped it up to 86 against Jose Abreu in the sixth inning. He sat mostly at 86 mph in 2013 and '14, then saw his fastball drop to an average of 84.9 mph in 2015 and plummet even further the following spring.

Despite the slight uptick, Weaver's fastball remains among the slowest in the game. He doesn't need much, though. 

"His core strength is getting there; I think his range of motion is there," Angels manager Mike Scioscia said. "Weave feels really confident in the fact that he will continue to get stronger as the season goes on. There's no doubt that his command was there today, and there was a little more life on his fastball. That's a good sign."