Rust? What rust?
Sure, it had been eight weeks since Angels ace Jered Weaver had taken the mound in a major league game. Apparently the layoff was no problem.
Weaver struck out the first batter he faced last night – Dodgers outfielder Carl Crawford. The K boosted the confidence of the right hander, who entered the start feeling at least some semblance of doubt.
“When you haven’t been out there for a while, you kind of ask yourself, ‘Can I still do this?'” MLB.com’s Alden Gonzalez quotes Weaver as saying after the game. “But as soon as you get that first out, you get the confidence back and try to get in a groove from there. I was able to do that.”
Was he ever.
Weaver went on to retire the first 12 batters he faced in order. He threw six complete innings, gave up just one run on five scattered hits, struck out seven batters while walking none.
Most importantly, Weaver looked like his old, dominant self despite missing so much time after breaking his non-throwing elbow bracing himself during an on-field fall.
The ace starter’s return is another shot in the arm for a Los Angeles club that continues to surge. After digging themselves an incredible first-month hole, the Angels are finally on the cusp of .500 again. An 8-2 record over their last 10 games has lifted them to 24-29 on the season and to third place in the standings. They have trimmed the AL West deficit to 8.5 games and are just 6.5 games back in the Wild Card standings with tons of baseball left to play.