Jered Weaver(notes) has been one of baseball’s most dominant starters in his home stadium over the past three seasons. Fortunately for the Southern California native, he’ll get to pitch there for a few more years.
Making his first start since signing a lucrative contract extension, Weaver will try to lead the Los Angeles Angels to a season-high sixth consecutive victory and a two-game sweep of the Chicago White Sox on Wednesday night.
Weaver (14-6, 2.10 ERA) has the AL’s second-lowest ERA (2.99) over the last three seasons, and ranks in the top five in wins, strikeouts and innings pitched in that span. He also owns the best winning percentage in franchise history (.634) for a pitcher with at least 100 decisions, and is the Angels’ first pitcher to make consecutive All-Star teams since Chuck Finley 15 years ago.
The Northridge, Calif. native could have parlayed that success into a free agent deal perhaps worth $100 million or more after next season, but instead signed a five-year, $85 million extension Tuesday to stay close to home.
Weaver is 21-8 with a 2.14 ERA in Anaheim since the beginning of 2009, and 6-1 with a 1.49 ERA at home this season.
“I just knew that I wanted to stay in Anaheim for a long period of time,” said Weaver, the AL’s starter in last month’s All-Star game. “When the Angels said they wanted to get something done, my ears were definitely open. I weighed the options, and I couldn’t see myself anywhere else.”
The right-hander is 0-2 with a 3.95 ERA in his last four starts but recovered from his worst outing of the season - eight runs over 4 2-3 innings in Toronto on Aug. 13 - to yield one run over seven innings to Texas on Thursday. However, he got zero runs of support for the third time in four outings and did not get a decision in the Angels’ 2-1 win.
Weaver, who is 5-2 with a 1.81 ERA in eight career starts against the White Sox (63-64), gave up three runs over seven innings of a 4-3 win at U.S. Cellular Field on April 15.
The right-hander, acquired from Toronto on July 27, was 1-1 with a 2.13 ERA in two starts earlier this month. After two appearances in the bullpen, he will face Los Angeles for the first time while subbing for Philip Humber(notes), who was struck by a line drive in the face Thursday at home against Cleveland.
“I’m just glad I have this opportunity to get in more games,” Stewart told the team’s official website. “It’s nice to be able to contribute and get out there whenever they need me.”
With their five consecutive wins - including three in their last at-bat - the Angels (70-59) have trimmed their AL West deficit to Texas from seven games to 3 1/2 in less than a week.
Los Angeles hasn’t won six in a row overall since June 2-7, 2010, and is seeking its first six-game home win streak since last Sept. 8-21.
Chicago, meanwhile, has dropped four of six and will need to do more to make up its deficit of 6 1/2 games behind Central-leading Detroit.
“We’ve got head-to-heads left with some teams in our division, so we’ve just got to hang in there and try to pick up some ground where we can,” slugger Paul Konerko(notes) said. “We might have to sweep somebody here and there to make this thing happen.”