White Sox-Angels Preview

Jered Weaver has been one of baseball’s most dominant starters

in his home stadium over the past three seasons. Fortunately for

the Southern California native, he’ll get to pitch there for a few

more years.

Making his first start since signing a lucrative contract

extension, Weaver will try to lead the Los Angeles Angels to a

season-high sixth consecutive victory and a two-game sweep of the

Chicago White Sox on Wednesday night.

Weaver (14-6, 2.10 ERA) has the AL’s second-lowest ERA (2.99)

over the last three seasons, and ranks in the top five in wins,

strikeouts and innings pitched in that span. He also owns the best

winning percentage in franchise history (.634) for a pitcher with

at least 100 decisions, and is the Angels’ first pitcher to make

consecutive All-Star teams since Chuck Finley 15 years ago.

The Northridge, Calif. native could have parlayed that success

into a free agent deal perhaps worth $100 million or more after

next season, but instead signed a five-year, $85 million extension

Tuesday to stay close to home.

Weaver is 21-8 with a 2.14 ERA in Anaheim since the beginning of

2009, and 6-1 with a 1.49 ERA at home this season.

“I just knew that I wanted to stay in Anaheim for a long period

of time,” said Weaver, the AL’s starter in last month’s All-Star

game. “When the Angels said they wanted to get something done, my

ears were definitely open. I weighed the options, and I couldn’t

see myself anywhere else.”

The right-hander is 0-2 with a 3.95 ERA in his last four starts

but recovered from his worst outing of the season – eight runs over

4 2-3 innings in Toronto on Aug. 13 – to yield one run over seven

innings to Texas on Thursday. However, he got zero runs of support

for the third time in four outings and did not get a decision in

the Angels’ 2-1 win.

Weaver, who is 5-2 with a 1.81 ERA in eight career starts

against the White Sox (63-64), gave up three runs over seven

innings of a 4-3 win at U.S. Cellular Field on April 15.

Zach Stewart (1-2, 3.74) will try to help hand Weaver another

loss in his return to the Chicago rotation.

The right-hander, acquired from Toronto on July 27, was 1-1 with

a 2.13 ERA in two starts earlier this month. After two appearances

in the bullpen, he will face Los Angeles for the first time while

subbing for Philip Humber, who was struck by a line drive in the

face Thursday at home against Cleveland.

“I’m just glad I have this opportunity to get in more games,”

Stewart told the team’s official website. “It’s nice to be able to

contribute and get out there whenever they need me.”

Stewart will face a lineup that’s gotten 12 or more hits in four

straight games. Peter Bourjos’ bases-loaded single in the ninth

inning Tuesday gave his team a 5-4 win in the series opener.

With their five consecutive wins – including three in their last

at-bat – the Angels (70-59) have trimmed their AL West deficit to

Texas from seven games to 3 1/2 in less than a week.

Los Angeles hasn’t won six in a row overall since June 2-7,

2010, and is seeking its first six-game home win streak since last

Sept. 8-21.

Chicago, meanwhile, has dropped four of six and will need to do

more to make up its deficit of 6 1/2 games behind Central-leading


“We’ve got head-to-heads left with some teams in our division,

so we’ve just got to hang in there and try to pick up some ground

where we can,” slugger Paul Konerko said. “We might have to sweep

somebody here and there to make this thing happen.”