It wasn’t the expected result in Anaheim on Saturday night, as Jered Weaver went without a strikeout for just the second time in 152 career starts and was outdueled by rookie Alex White in the Indians’ 4-3 victory.
Weaver’s only previous strikeout-less performance came on June 10, 2007, when he allowed three runs in three innings against the Cardinals. He came into this one having led the AL with 55 strikeouts in seven starts this season. He fanned 15 in a win over the Blue Jays on April 10 and 10 in his shutout of Oakland on April 25.
But whether it’s the illness that pushed him back a day in the rotation a week ago or fatigue from having thrown so many pitches early on, Weaver just didn’t seem to be his usual self tonight. His velocity was OK, but his slider was flat and the Indians had plenty of good hacks.
Weaver managed to keep his team in the game anyway, allowing four runs over six innings, but White was just enough better. The 2009 first-round pick fanned six while giving up three runs over six innings. Tony Sipp, Vinnie Pestana and Chris Perez followed with scoreless frames, giving the Indians their 22 win against 10 losses.
For White, it should have been the first of many. The 22-year-old right-hander has an excellent 91-95 mph fastball and a plus slider. The splitter that serves as his changeup wasn’t really necessary tonight, as most of the power in the Angels lineup comes from the right side of the plate.
White probably isn’t up for good; he’ll survive Carlos Carrasco’s return from the DL, but he is supposed to head back to Triple-A after Mitch Talbot is activated at the end of the month. Yet even if White does spend another month at Columbus first, he should be a big factor in the second half. There’s a long way to go yet, but if the Indians do reach the playoffs this year, it’d be a surprise if White isn’t in their ALDS rotation.