PHOENIX -- It's the job of the manager to pump up the player, even when that player is in the waning days of a great career. It's the job of the player to tell it like it is. And on Thursday night, veteran Padres right-hander Jered Weaver told it like
PHOENIX -- It's the job of the manager to pump up the player, even when that player is in the waning days of a great career. It's the job of the player to tell it like it is. And on Thursday night, veteran Padres right-hander Jered Weaver told it like it is.
Asked how he felt after giving up five runs in a 6-2 loss to the D-backs at Chase Field, Weaver was pretty succinct.
"Not very good," Weaver said. "I was falling behind, location was terrible. It was just one of those days when I battled against myself, and it didn't work out."
Actually, it could be one of those seasons. Weaver, 34, anchored the Angels' starting rotation for 11 years, winning 20 games in 2012 and 18 in 2014. He has a 150-95 career record, a .615 winning percentage.
Weaver's velocity has consistently diminished, and that may be the biggest reason he remained on the free-agent market until the pitching-challenged Padres signed him for $3 million on Feb. 19.
Weaver has made five starts without a win, all San Diego losses. Coming into this outing, Statcast™ told the tale of Weaver's diminishing returns. Of 183 Major League pitchers who had thrown at least 100 combined four-seamers, two-seamers and sinkers, Weaver's average velocity of 84.1 miles per hour was last on the list.
That continued Thursday as the Padres lost for the 11th time in their last 15 games. Here's what Weaver threw for the three homers he allowed: a 78-mph slider and a 75.6 mph changeup on a pair to Chris Owings, and an 84.3-mph fastball to Yasmany Tomas.
Weaver has already given up 10 homers over 28 2/3 innings, and he said knows he can't even live on the edge like that.
"It doesn't take a genius to figure this out, that's for sure," Weaver said. "Obviously, the long ball has been killing me. When you fall behind with the stuff I'm throwing, you have to be perfect."
And he's not. Timothy Lincecum and Barry Zito discovered they couldn't excel without a fastball in the 90s. Greg Maddux said that he knew his career was over in his final months for the Dodgers when he threw as hard as he could, looked up at the Dodger Stadium scoreboard and saw the pitch register at 87 mph.
"I knew it was over, right then and there," Maddux said.
The hitters tell a pitcher when it's over, former Padres closer Trevor Hoffman once said, and they are speaking awfully loud right now to Weaver, who has allowed 15 earned runs.
This is where the second-year manager stepped in to support his pitcher. Asked how long Weaver could survive with this type of velo, Andy Green was more than up to the task.
"His outs are all on those pitches, too," Green said. "You look up at him, last outing a quality start, outing before that a quality start, outing before that right on the verge of a quality start. Today, three pitches got him, but he has pitched well. He has one of the lowest WHIPs in the game."
Weaver's WHIP is 1.08. He throws strikes, no question, but at his velo, that may be the problem.
"It doesn't matter what's going on, what I once did," Weaver said. "It's what I can do now. I still have to execute pitches. I'm still here pitching in the big leagues, and I've got to figure out ways to get outs."
Barry M. Bloom is a national reporter for MLB.com and writes an MLBlog, Boomskie on Baseball. Follow @boomskie on Twitter.