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.
Major League Baseball just announced the details for the ceremonial and off-field stuff in connection with Games 1 and 2 of the World Series. The one most people were wondering about was the ceremonial first pitch. Sorry, Charlie Sheen fans. Sorry fans of “Major League” in general. Two real baseball stars are handing first pitch duties: Kenny Lofton before Game 1, Carlos Baerga for Game 2.
Lofton needs no introduction. He should be a Hall of Famer but is criminally overlooked, perhaps because he bounced around to a lot of different clubs. He made his name in Cleveland, however, doing three separate tours with the Indians, leading the AL in stolen bases for five straight years early in his career and putting up a line of .300/.375/.426 in ten seasons on the shores of Lake Erie.
Baerga played for the Tribe between 1990 and 1996 and was, for a time, quite the superstar, even if people don’t talk about him much anymore. His career fell off pretty quickly in that way that often happens for second basemen and/or stars who end up on the Mets, but there was a time when he was perhaps the biggest star on some excellent Indians teams. People had “will Carlos Baerga be a Hall of Famer?” conversations and stuff. The mid-90s were a special time.
Beyond the first pitches, the National Anthem will be sung by Rachel Platten before Game 1 and by the group Locash before Game 2. As I am an old man out of touch with most things, I have no idea who they are, but I am sure their fans are passionate and their renditions of the Anthem will be fine and non-controversial. Fox, MLB and the folks at major record labels are pretty good about that sort of thing and everyone will be especially vigilant in light of what happened with that Canadian tenors group at the All-Star Game. If nothing else, I bet you pick up the check for the Anthem performance after the song, and not before these days.
I realize everyone is super excited about the Cubs being in the World Series for the first time since 1945, with the chance to win it for the first time since 1908. But you’d think folks would remember that it’s just the Cubs — and not Chicago as a whole — who have been away from the Fall Classic for so long.
I know their recent struggles makes it seem like a long, long time ago, but the White Sox won the World Series in 2005. They were in the World Series in 1959 too. You wouldn’t know that, though, if you looked at some prominent media outlets:
I understand the impulse to tell the “a whole city is coming together!” story every time stuff like this happens, but there are a lot of White Sox fans in Chicago. A good number of them don’t give a crap about the Cubs. Many even resent them for being the glory franchise in the city in the eyes of many. They certainly don’t feel like there’s a championship drought afoot, and I imagine they’re somewhat cranky about having their team’s glory plastered over like this.