The Angels’ rotation hasn’t been the force we expected it would be this season, even after the Zack Greinke trade last month, but Jered Weaver has managed to be the exception. Until last night, that is.
Weaver was tagged for a career-high nine runs over just three-plus innings as part of a 12-3 loss to the Rays. He served up a solo homer to B.J. Upton in the first inning and a solo shot to Ben Zobrist in the second before allowing the first seven batters to reach base in the fourth. He was replaced by LaTroy Hawkins, who allowed two inherited runners to score on an RBI single by Upton.
Weaver had a start against the Yankees on May 30 where he left in the first inning with a back injury, but otherwise this was his shortest outing of the season. His ERA jumped from an AL-best 2.22 to 2.74 with the clunker. He was handed just his third loss of the year.
Many have assumed that the Angels would at least get one of the Wild Cards in the American League and that may still happen, but they are far from a sure thing right now. With losses in seven out of their last 10 games, they sit at 62-58 on the year, seven games behind the Rangers in the American League West and 2 1/2 games back for the Wild Card. The team’s starting rotation has a 6.00 ERA this month.
The Cubs wrapped up a four-game series against the Reds at Wrigley Field on Thursday afternoon, suffering a 13-10 loss to split the set. They’ll match up again against the Reds next week for a three-game series in Cincinnati. That’s good news for Cubs third baseman Kris Bryant, because that means he’ll get to see Reds first baseman Joey Votto some more.
As CSN Chicago’s Patrick Mooney reports, Bryant has grown quite fond of Votto. Bryant has already won a World Series ring, a Rookie of the Year Award, and an MVP Award, but he still looks up to Votto. According to Bryant, Votto is “the best player ever.” He added, ““He’s my favorite player. I love watching him. I love talking to him, just picking his brain. He gets a lot of (heat) about his walks and working at-bats and some people want him to swing at more pitches. But, gosh, I mean, he does an unbelievable job. You know that he’s going to give you a great at-bat every time he goes up there. It’s definitely a guy that I look up to and I can learn from.”
Bryant said that Votto is “a future Hall of Famer, that’s for sure.”
Bryant also explained how his approach changed by watching Votto. He said that in his rookie season, he was “swinging at everything.” Votto, however, is “aggressive, but he’s not going to swing at a pitch until he wants it.”
Indeed, in Bryant’s rookie season, he struck out in nearly 31 percent of his 650 plate appearances. This season, he has struck out in only 19 percent of his PA. His walk rate has also increased by more than 2.5 percent since his rookie campaign. Compared to last year, Bryant is down in HR and RBI, but his average is the same, his on-base percentage is markedly better, and his slugging percentage is only down by a minute amount.
Diamondbacks second baseman Daniel Descalso hit his team’s third inside-the-park home run of the season during Thursday’s 4-0 win over the Astros. In the top of the fourth inning, with the score 1-0 and the bases empty, Descalso ripped a 1-0, 83 MPH change-up to right-center field. The ball caromed off the wall, heading towards left field, which sent center Jake Marisnick on the chase. Marisnick tried to pick up the ball with his glove, but dropped it, which sealed Descalso’s destiny for an inside-the-parker.
It had only been five days since the Diamondbacks’ last inside-the-park home run. David Peralta hit one against the Cubs on August 12. Ketel Marte legged out his club’s first ITPHR on July 26 against the Braves.
As ESPN Stats & Info notes, the Diamondbacks have three as a team, which is amazing because the other 29 teams have hit seven combined.