- Zach McAllister (5-7, 3.74 ERA, 4.43 SIERA)vs. Jered Weaver (7-6, 3.49 ERA, 4.02 SIERA)
Zach Attach looked strong in Minnesota on Wednesday, the only real blemish the usual Willingham “remember when you could have signed me?” homer. I’m glad they didn’t. Anyway, that’s how it’s gotta be in California too, and if last start was any indication he’ll be just fine against the Angels. He should worry about Trout though – even though he’s a righty his OPS against right-handed pitchers is 66 points higher than against lefties. Of course, saying “be careful of Mike Trout” is like telling crab fishermen to bring a raincoat and beard shampoo.
Earlier I mentioned Weaver, the avowed ace of this staff, and he is, name at least. Just as Justin Verlander is perceived as the “ace” for the Tigers, Weaver is the leader of the pitchers, the favorite son. Though his ERA is somewhat inflated from his normal level, he’s as good as ever, numbers slightly skewed perhaps by a recent 9 run blasting he took from the Yankees on Wednesday. He’ll challenge the Indians anywhere and at home he’s at his best – 2.63 ERA at the A compared to 3.89 on the road. Expect fly balls dying in the outfield as the sun goes down. Watching a Weaver pitching game is like playing Duck Hunt.
- Danny Salazar (1-1, 4.08 ERA, 2.65 SIERA)vs. C.J. Wilson (13-6, 3.40 ERA, 3.90 SIERA)
So the journey through the Majors continues for young Salazar. Last time it didn’t come so easy, a mere four innings allowing two homers against the oft-punchless Twins. Such are the struggles of the young pitcher – the world learns you so quickly and it’s up to you to adapt or fade. The real hope is both irrational and obvious – that Miguel Cabrera didn’t break him with that home run. But Salazar has made it this far, he won’t let a little thing like a soul-crushing home run affect him. Right? This is his first go against the Angels. Perhaps he finds that heaven is in fact 40 miles south of the City of Angels.
For all I said of the waste of time C. J. Wilson is earlier, he’s not a bad pitcher. He’s pretty good, and their best starter this year. It’s just that he’s paid what you’d give a top pitcher, or maybe my entire scale is just twisted. After all, Cliff Lee gets $25 mill a year and C.J. is more than 60% of Lee. He gets strikeouts – 8.26 per nine innings, and he’s having his second best year for walks per nine innings, only 3.40. Really, he’s doing all that’s asked of him and earning his paycheck. I’m glad the Indians didn’t give him $75 million, but the Angels made a smart move. He pitched against Cleveland when LA was in town on the 10th and prevailing with 5.1 innings of six strikeout, two run ball. Four walks were allowed.
I’ll bet you’re wondering just what the hell is happening the past few starts with Justin Masterson. Well, it’s called crushing hopes in the more common vernacular, but it shouldn’t be a new experience, just unexpected. But really, this is just the pitcher we should expect – he’s not untouchable, just really good. Even the best sometimes lay a stinker. It’s just rough Masterson had to do it now, three times in a row. One of those came against these Angels at home, Masterson going 4.1 innings giving up 5 runs, 4 earned, with four walks. He just plain didn’t have it, throwing a wild pitch and only 57 strikes. So hopefully he’s better, it’s all you can ask.
Jerome Williams took the mound against Masterson when he faced the Indians in Cleveland and he was a bit better than his counterpart. 5.2 innings, 7 K’s, but also four earned runs. A contact pitcher at the back of the order, he’s one of the results of the Dodgers buying all the pitching while the Angels failed on Greinke. If the Indians can do to him what they did last time, I’m satisfied. He pitches to contact and throws like my MLB The Show pitcher except slower, a sinker and four-seamer at 93 with a cutter to complement at around 90. The ball can move on three planes at any given pitch. He just doesn’t throw 100 like a certain video game avatar, so instead he’s ¾ scrub.