The ace right-handers will match up for the second time this year Wednesday when the Los Angeles Angels - with Torii Hunter(notes) set to return - look to complete a three-game home sweep of the Kansas City Royals.
Greinke (7-11, 4.14 ERA) turned in the best season of his career last year, going 16-8 with a 2.16 ERA but 2010 has been a different story. His ERA is his highest in four seasons, and he’s 2-6 with a 3.38 ERA in 11 road outings.
While it’s clear Greinke won’t repeat as a Cy Young winner, Weaver (11-7, 2.96) is among the contenders to win it this year. The Angels starter leads the majors with 171 strikeouts, and owns the second-lowest home ERA in the AL at 1.70 with a 5-2 mark in 11 starts.
Weaver outdueled Greinke in a 5-4 road victory June 3 by striking out nine in seven scoreless innings to improve to 4-4 with a 2.88 ERA in eight starts against Kansas City (47-66). Greinke gave up four runs in six innings, falling to 1-4 with a 4.38 ERA in six outings against the Angels.
The Royals right-hander has alternated losses and victories in his last six starts. He yielded six runs over seven innings Friday in a 7-1 loss at Seattle.
Weaver is seeking to win three starts in a row for the first time since a four-game run May 27-June 14, 2009. He gave up two runs over seven innings to earn a 4-2 victory at Detroit on Friday.
That victory was the last in which Los Angeles (58-57) had Hunter available. The right fielder was ejected from the game and threw a bag of balls onto the field to draw a four-game ban.
Hunter is eligible to return Wednesday. He has 11 hits in his last 20 at-bats, and is 12 for 29 with four homers and 12 RBIs in seven games against the Royals this year.
“Getting back out there, I’m like a kid on Christmas,” Hunter told the Angels’ official website. “I can’t wait. Watching my boys on TV is no fun at all.”
Hunter has shifted to right in order to give rookie Peter Bourjos(notes) playing time in center. Bourjos has started the last eight games, and drove in the go-ahead run with a suicide squeeze bunt in the fifth inning in a 3-1 victory Tuesday.
“We prepared for that all the time in the minors,” said Bourjos, batting .185 with two RBIs since being called up.
The Angels have won four of five and moved back into second place in the AL West, 8 1/2 games behind Texas.
Kansas City has lost three straight and six of eight on this road trip. The Royals have totaled 16 runs in the eight games, with youngsters Kila Ka’aihue(notes) (2 for 20) and Alex Gordon(notes) (5 for 24) struggling on it.
“We’re struggling for runs, but these things run their course, hopefully,” manager Ned Yost said. “All it takes is one big hit to get everybody going.”