Like his Los Angeles Angels teammates, Jered Weaver will play with a heavy heart for the rest of this season, but if he can produce more stellar pitching performances, it might bring a glimmer of happiness to a grieving team.
Following arguably the most difficult start of his career, Weaver will try to help the Angels in their search for consistency as they continue a three-game road series with the Seattle Mariners on Wednesday night.
Weaver pitched in the Angels’ first game following fellow starter Nick Adenhart’s death and after scratching his late teammate’s initials into the pitching mound, the right-hander allowed one unearned run over 6 2-3 innings in Friday’s 6-3 win over visiting Boston.
Adenhart and two friends were killed Thursday when a driver whom police say was drunk ran a red light and hit their car in Fullerton, Calif. The 22-year-old rookie was supposed to move in with Weaver on Sunday.
“It was one of the toughest I’ve had to get through,” said Weaver, who allowed four hits, walked two and struck out eight. “It still really hasn’t hit home yet. I shed a couple tears before I went over (to the mound).”
After Wednesday’s game, Weaver will travel with a small Angels contingent to Williamsport, Md., for a memorial service and return before Thursday’s finale. The right-hander is 6-2 with a 5.07 ERA in 11 career starts against Seattle, but 4-1 in his last six appearances.
Still reeling emotionally, the Angels (3-4) are off to their worst start since 2003 and have alternated wins and losses in their last four games.
Los Angeles tied Tuesday’s game in the sixth inning on Torii Hunter’s second home run of the season, but the Mariners won in the 10th on Scot Shields’ throwing error. Shane Loux, taking Adenhart’s turn in the rotation, gave up two runs and five hits in 5 1-3 innings.
“Every inning I thought about it. Every time I came back to the dugout I thought about it,” Loux said. “It was more difficult than I thought.”
The Angels will face a Mariners (6-2) team that’s off to their best start since 2001, when they finished with an American League-record 116 victories. Seattle is also looking for its first six-game win streak since taking eight in a row from June 23-July 1, 2007.
Highlighting Tuesday’s home opener was Ken Griffey Jr.’s return to Seattle in a Mariners uniform. Baseball’s active leader with 612 home runs went 1-for-3 with a walk.
“It’s more about the 25 guys in here, not just me,” Griffey said. “It just so happens for me it was my return, but we’ve got something special going on in here.”
Endy Chavez extended his hitting streak to eight games by going 2-for-4. Chavez is tied with the Los Angeles Dodgers’ Matt Kemp, St. Louis’ Chris Duncan and Tampa Bay’s Evan Longoria for the longest active hitting streak, and is 1-for-3 in his career against Weaver.
The Mariners will try to help Jarrod Washburn (1-0, 0.00) earn a second victory in as many starts. In a 2-0 win in Minnesota on Thursday, the veteran left-hander threw eight shutout innings while striking out four and allowing five hits.
Washburn is 4-5 with a 4.31 ERA in his career against the team he played with from 1998-2005, but has lost three straight starts versus Los Angeles with his previous win coming Sept. 21, 2007.
Washburn needs one win to even his career record at 100-100.