Jered Weaver’s recent struggles have been largely attributed to a drop in the speed of his fastball, but the Los Angeles Angels right-hander didn’t appear to have too many issues against the Houston Astros last month.
After the Angels blew their chance to take the series opener, Weaver will try to help his club bounce back with another strong outing against Houston on Friday night.
Weaver has reportedly been throwing his primary pitch around 84.2 miles per hour, about five mph slower than his career average and three mph slower than in 2014. That seems to be a contributing factor in him going winless in his first six starts for the first time and likely played a part in Sunday’s 5-0 loss in San Francisco.
Weaver (0-4, 6.29 ERA) gave up five runs and 10 hits in five innings, and has posted an 8.25 ERA in his last two outings. He was 131-69 with a 3.28 ERA in his first nine seasons.
"It’s just like every other sport," Weaver told MLB’s official website. "The older you get, your body changes with what’s going on. As good as I do feel, something’s just not clicking.
"I’ve never felt this good before, as far as strength and everything, and I’ve never gone through a struggle like this. That’s why baseball is baseball. It’s a humbling game. It’s just a matter of what you’re going to do to figure it back out."
Weaver gave up two runs in six innings April 17 in Houston but couldn’t benefit from a 6-3 win. He’s 2-1 with a 1.93 ERA in his last four matchups and has gone 2-0 with a 1.13 ERA in two at home, both last season.
The Astros (19-10) are batting .161 with eight runs in their last four games but snapped a three-game skid with a 3-2 win Thursday in Anaheim. Houston did all its scoring off Angels closer Huston Street in the ninth in his second straight blown save after converting his first nine attempts.
"You never draw it up like that going into the game, but it was a great win for us," Astros manager A.J. Hinch said. "We got quality at-bats at the end against their closer, which is hard to do."
Roberto Hernandez (1-2, 4.25) will try to lead his team to another win with another solid effort against the Angels (13-16). While pitching opposite Weaver last month, he gave up three runs and three hits in six innings before leaving without a decision. He’s 0-4 with a 2.83 ERA in 10 starts against Los Angeles.
The only other AL club he’s never beaten is Cleveland, and he’s never faced his former team.
Hernandez was working on a solid showing in Sunday’s 7-6 win against Seattle, giving up two runs in his first six innings. The Mariners, though, scored four times in the seventh with the right-hander getting charged with three runs after leaving with no outs.
Mike Trout, who has homered in consecutive games, is 4 for 11 with three home runs against Hernandez. That’s tied for his second-most home runs versus any pitcher, trailing only his four against Texas’ Yu Darvish.