Jered Weaver got himself back on track following a shaky stretch in which his ERA rose from 1.78 to 2.49 in five starts, tossing eight innings of one-run ball against the Yankees on September 9 and seven innings of one-run ball versus the A’s on Wednesday.
However, with Weaver just three innings away from tying his career-high workload Mark Saxon of ESPN Los Angeles notes that the right-hander’s velocity is down compared to early in the season.
Here are Weaver’s average fastball velocities by month from Fan Graphs:
April: 90.3 mph
May: 89.7 mph
June: 88.7 mph
July: 89.1 mph
August: 88.7 mph
September: 87.9 mph
Weaver has never been the type of pitcher to blow away hitters with fastball velocity, but he certainly seems to be wearing down somewhat. Not coincidentally his ERA has jumped from 1.86 in the first half to 3.33 in the second half and his strikeout-to-walk ratio has declined from 3.8 to 2.8.
And with the possibility of Weaver starting on short rest Sunday the Angels have to wonder how much he’ll have left in the tank if they somehow make the playoffs.
Yankees first baseman Greg Bird gave his team tons of confidence to hand him the everyday job at first base to start the 2017 regular season, batting .451/.556/1.098 with eight home runs in 51 spring at-bats. But he’s followed that up by hitting .107/.254/.214 through the first month of the regular season.
GM Brian Cashman doesn’t have any intent to demote Bird back to Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre, MLB.com’s Bryan Hoch reports. Cashman said, “It’s not even an option for me in my mind right now, at all.”
Bird didn’t start Sunday’s game against the Orioles, a 7-4 loss in 11 innings. Lefty Wade Miley started for the Orioles, prompting manager Joe Girardi to put Chris Carter into the lineup at first base. If Bird isn’t able to figure things out, Carter might have an increased role on the team.
Rays starter Chris Archer threw his first pitch to Blue Jays outfielder Jose Bautista behind the slugger’s back with one out in the first inning of Sunday afternoon’s game in Toronto. Bautista and Archer then had a staredown. Home plate umpire Jim Wolf issued warnings to both teams. Bautista ultimately flied out to right field and he appeared to have a quick word with Archer on his way back to the dugout.
Archer could have been exacting revenge — euphemistically known as “protecting his teammate” — because Jays reliever Joe Biagini hit Rays outfielder Steven Souza in the seventh inning of Saturday’s game. Souza was forced to leave the game and underwent an X-ray, which came back negative. He was held out of Sunday’s lineup. Biagini’s pitch did not appear to be intentional.
The Jays won Sunday’s contest 3-1 with no further incident. The two clubs meet again in Tampa for a three-game series starting on May 5, so we’ll see if Sunday was the last of the bad blood between them.