After struggling to reach 80 miles per hour with his fastball Wednesday and then undergoing an MRI exam, Angels right-hander Jered Weaver has been diagnosed with what the team is calling nerve tightness in his neck.
Weaver showed a good sense of humor about the whole situation, telling Alden Gonzalez of MLB.com: “The third homer that I watched go out kind of hurt my neck a little bit.”
However, neither Weaver nor the Angels can feel very good about his consistently declining velocity and the lack of a clear-cut reason for his issues.
I just feel like it’s neck tension that is causing me to not be able to throw the ball like I want to. I guess it’s going to kind of help to get a professional doctor to go from there.
Gonzalez reports that Weaver plans to continue throwing and is on track to be ready for the season, but his next start should make the odds of that happening much clearer and there’s no timetable for that.
Weaver had career-worst numbers across the board last season, has lost velocity on an annual basis, and is in the final year of his contract with the Angels, so the 33-year-old three-time All-Star has a lot riding on this season.
Nationals starter Max Scherzer bunted a ball into his face during batting practice on Tuesday, breaking his nose in the process. He ended up with a gnarly looking shiner around his right eye, making him appear a bit like Terminator. Scherzer still took the ball to start the second game of Wednesday night’s doubleheader against the Phillies.
Despite the injury, Scherzer was incredibly effective, limiting the Phillies to four hits and two walks across seven shutout innings, striking out 10 batters in the process. He might even have had some extra adrenaline going, as he averaged 96.2 MPH on his fastball, his highest average fastball velocity in a game since September 2012, per MLB.com’s Jamal Collier. The Nationals provided Scherzer with just one run of support, coming on a Brian Dozier solo home run off of Jake Arrieta in the second inning, but it was enough.
Wander Suero worked a scoreless top of the eighth with a pair of strikeouts. Victor Robles added a solo homer off of Pat Neshek in the bottom half. Closer Sean Doolittle took over in the ninth, working a 1-2-3 frame to give the Nats their 2-0 victory.
Over his last six starts, Scherzer now has a 0.88 ERA with a 59/8 K/BB ratio across 41 innings. He has gone six innings, struck out at least nine batters, and held the opposition to two or fewer runs in each of those six starts.