ANAHEIM, Calif. (CBS/AP) – Prior to landing on the disabled list late last month, Los Angeles’ Jered Weaver was pitching as well as anyone in baseball.
San Francisco’s Ryan Vogelsong was in the same company as the Angels’ ace then, and he’s still cruising along.
Runs could be at a premium Wednesday night as Weaver comes off the DL to face Vogelsong and the Giants in the series finale at Angel Stadium.
Weaver (6-1, 2.61 ERA) hasn’t pitched since leaving his May 28 start against the New York Yankees after just 12 pitches because of lower back pain. He responded well to rest and treatment and the Angels (37-32) decided last season’s AL Cy Young runner-up didn’t need a rehab start, although he will be limited to 80-90 pitches.
“We didn’t want him to waste bullets in the minor leagues,” manager Mike Scioscia said before losing 5-3 in Monday’s opener. “The best thing for him was to face major league hitters.”
In his first career look at the Giants (38-31), Weaver will face a team that has combined for 10 runs and 26 hits in splitting the first two games of this series. The only San Francisco hitter that’s faced Weaver is Melky Cabrera, who went 3 for 5 in Tuesday’s 12-5 loss to become the first major leaguer to surpass the 100-hit mark.
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Cabrera, who’s 12 for 24 in his last five games in Anaheim, is just 3 for 15 lifetime against Weaver.
Although it seems Weaver could be tested by the Giants, who are hitting .306 over their last seven games, the opposition really hasn’t made much difference for the right-hander this season.
With two complete games, including a no-hitter, the AL’s third-best ERA and a league-best 0.93 WHIP, he’s eager to return.
“It’s very exciting,” said Weaver, who’s 4-0 with a 0.83 ERA in five home starts. “It feels like it’s been three months instead of a little over 15 days. I’ve worked real hard on getting that thing taken care of, and the training staff has done a great job to get me back.”
Los Angeles, winner of eight of 11, seems like it will need Weaver to pick up right where he left off considering how well Vogelsong (6-2, 2.29) has continued to pitch.
Vogelsong’s 1.71 ERA since the start of May is the second-best in the majors among pitchers with at least 45 innings, and the Giants have won each of his last eight starts.
In Seattle on Friday, the righty allowed two runs, four hits and three walks in seven innings of a 4-2 victory. He’d shut the Mariners out on two hits through seven and had retired 11 straight before surrendering a pair of singles to begin the eighth.
“What you like about him is he keeps his composure out there,” manager Bruce Bochy said.
Bochy probably also likes how he takes care of business against the AL.
Vogelsong, who was in the Angels’ minor league system briefly in 2010, has a 1.25 ERA in winning his three interleague starts this year and is 4-0 with a 1.31 ERA in six starts versus the AL since joining the Giants.
His lone appearance against Los Angeles came in 2001.
This time he’ll be facing an Angels lineup that’s coming off its highest-scoring game of the season. Los Angeles’ first four batters – Mike Trout, Torii Hunter, Albert Pujols and Mark Trumbo – combined to go 11 for 17 with 10 RBIs.
Pujols homered and drove in four runs. He’s 6 for 15 with a homer and three walks against Vogelsong.