COMMENTARY | Jered Weaver has been the lone bright spot for a struggling Los Angeles Angels pitching staff with high expectations, and now the team may have to figure out how to continue its winning ways without him for an indefinite period of time.
After suffering a lower-back injury in the first inning in the series opener against the New York Yankees in Anaheim on Monday night, Weaver now may miss starts when his team needs him most. Though the team has begun to turn things around after a rough start to the 2012 season, Weaver was a major part of the team's ability to remain competitive during its rough stretch.
Baseball is a game where success is often contagious. With the Angels trying to fight their way to the top of the standings, a loss of their best pitcher would be especially painful given the fact that the offense has improved greatly behind the recent strong pitching.
Early on, fans held their breath as they watched the $240 million investment the team made in Albert Pujols fail to yield early returns. The pitching staff, which was expected to be one of the best in the league, struggled right alongside him.
But as Pujols' bat came alive, so did the pitching staff led by Weaver. As the ace of the staff, the team fed off the energy he gave them with strong outings. It would all translate to a 6-1 record for Weaver and help propel the team to a six-game winning streak going into the contest against the Yankees.
Timing is everything, and losing Weaver during a battle to regain status as one of the best teams in baseball is devastating. Though there is no information on the severity of the injury, the fact that he could not return after attempting to throw a warm-up pitch is of major concern.
At this point, the answers will come fairly soon as to how severe the injury is, but it is up to the team to pick him up and get past his potential absence mentally. Injuries are a part of the game, and the Angels will likely have more adversity to face as the season wears on.
Michael C. Jones is a Yahoo! Featured Contributor in Sports and covers the Los Angeles Angels and Major League Baseball. He has written for southern California's Press-Enterprise and Examiner.com.
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