Weaver looks to become the first American League starting pitcher to win his first 10 decisions when he takes the mound in Thursday’s series finale against the Boston Red Sox at Angel Stadium.
Weaver (9-0, 1.95 ERA) has an unblemished record through 12 starts, and he has been nearly unhittable, holding opponents to a .191 batting average.
The 23-year-old right-hander has won his last two starts while giving up just one run and six hits with 15 strikeouts in 13 innings.
He held Seattle to three singles while striking out seven in seven innings of Los Angeles’ 3-0 victory Friday, tying Whitey Ford’s record—set in 1950— as the only AL rookies to win their first nine decisions as starters.
“It’s great to be mentioned in the same sentence with Whitey Ford,” Weaver said.
“I didn’t expect anything like that. It’s great, but now I’ve got to start thinking about how to get that 10th win.”
Earning his 10th win against the Red Sox (70-56) won’t be easy. Weaver failed to record a decision on July 29 versus Boston, snapping his streak of seven straight starts with a victory to open his career. Weaver gave up three runs and seven hits in 6 2-3 innings of a 7-6, 11-inning loss to the Red Sox in which David Ortiz hit a walkoff home run.
The major league record for consecutive wins by a starting pitcher to open his career is 12, set by Hooks Wiltse of the New York Giants in 1904.
The Angels (67-60) lost 5-4 on Wednesday, snapping a five-game winning streak. Los Angeles trails Oakland by five games in the AL West.
Vladimir Guerrero had an RBI double, and is batting .421 (16-for-38) with six doubles and 10 RBIs during a season-high 10-game hitting streak. He needs one more RBI to join Troy Glaus as the only players in Angels history with three consecutive seasons driving in 100 or more.
The Red Sox ended a season-worst six-game losing streak Wednesday as Ortiz and Wily Mo Pena hit two-run homers.
“I think it was necessary,” said manager Terry Francona, whose team trails the New York Yankees by 6 1/2 games in the AL East and the Chicago White Sox by four games for the wild card. “You’ve got to start somewhere. Tonight was not an easy game to win. But these guys understand what’s at stake here. We dug ourselves into a corner, but our enthusiasm and our concentration was tremendous.”
Ortiz has a major league-leading 45 home runs, and needs five to match the franchise record of 50, set by Jimmie Foxx in 1938.
Now that the Boston has ended its losing streak, Josh Beckett (13-8, 5.35) looks to snap one of his own when he takes the mound Thursday.
Beckett has not won since July 24, and is coming off one of his worst starts of the season. He allowed nine runs, seven hits and a career-high nine walks on a season-high 121 pitches in 5 2-3 innings of a 13-5 loss to the New York Yankees on Saturday.
The right-hander is 0-3 with a 8.75 ERA in four August starts. He has not lost four straight decisions since May 25-Aug. 4, 2004, while pitching for Florida.
Beckett opposed Weaver on July 29 in his only career start against the Angels, and allowed three runs and four hits in six innings.
Manny Ramirez returned to the Red Sox lineup Wednesday after missing Tuesday’s game with a sore right hamstring. He grounded out his first two times up before leaving with a sore knee.
“His right knee is really bothering him, and I guess it’s not surprising,” Francona said. “Anytime you’re battling a hammy with a knee problem, it directly affects that. He didn’t want to come out, but it was grabbing at him. So we’re going to take him and get him checked out a little more extensively in the morning.”