Jered Weaver looks to continue the perfect start to his career with a sixth straight win Saturday when the Los Angeles Angels continue a four-game series against the Oakland Athletics at McAfee Coliseum.
Weaver (5-0, 1.35 ERA) was forced to replace brother Jeff in the rotation when he was recalled from Triple-A Salt Lake on June 30, and Jeff Weaver was dealt to St. Louis. Jered Weaver showed no ill effects in his first start back in the majors, allowing one run and five hits with a season-high nine strikeouts over seven innings in a 7-1 victory at Seattle on Monday.
“Obviously, he’s proud of me for getting back up here, but it’s not the kind of circumstances we imagined it was going to happen in,” he said. “But we know this is a very business-oriented game and things like that happen.”
The right-hander has faced five different teams in his outings and will meet Oakland (45-41) for the first time. He believes his delivery and the way he hides the ball has been part of his early success.
“Deception has a little to do with my success and that has allowed me to get people out,” Weaver said. “At some point they will catch up to it and I will have to adjust but until then I will do what I did in the minor leagues.”
Weaver will have a difficult act to follow after John Lackey pitched Los Angeles (41-45) to a 3-0 victory on Friday. Lackey allowed a leadoff double to Mark Kotsay in the bottom of the first before retiring the next 27 batters for his fourth career shutout.
“When he started retiring guys in the seventh inning, we realized we didn’t have any baserunners,” Kotsay said. “He retired 27 in a row with guys giving away at-bats.”
The Angels have won six of seven, a stretch during which their starters have a 1.71 ERA, to pull within four games of the AL West-leading Athletics.
Angels shortstop Orlando Cabrera went 0-for-4 on Friday, ending his streak of reaching base safely in 63 consecutive games—the longest run in the majors since 1960. Hall of Famer Ted Williams holds the record with 84 straight in 1949.
Manager Mike Scioscia will have some of his left-handed hitters back in the lineup Saturday after Garret Anderson and Maicer Izturis sat out against left-hander Barry Zito on Friday. Both players are nursing sore left hamstrings and Anderson is mired in a 1-for-15 slump.
Oakland starter Joe Blanton (8-7, 4.78) seeks to win his fifth straight outing at home. Blanton is 4-0 with a 1.41 ERA over his last four starts at the Coliseum.
The most recent win was Monday when he allowed three runs and nine hits over seven innings in a 5-3 victory over Detroit. He retired 10 in a row at one point.
“I got into a groove there and felt more comfortable in the later innings,” Blanton said. “My offspeed pitches got better, too.”
Blanton is making his first start of the season against the Angels. He’s 0-1 with a 4.08 ERA against them in three career appearances, including two starts.
Anderson and Chone Figgins are a combined 5-for-31 (.161) against Blanton.
Oakland’s 1-for-28 effort on Friday lowered its major league-worst batting average to .244. The A’s are batting .186 on their 10-game homestand.