The Los Angeles Angels haven't won a game started by a pitcher other than Jered Weaver or C.J. Wilson in nearly three weeks, though their ineffective offense could have just as much to do with their current slump.
Weaver will be back on the hill Wednesday as Los Angeles looks to avoid a three-game sweep at the hands of the visiting Minnesota Twins.Reliever Dane De La Rosa was credited with a win in the Angels' 9-7, 11-inning victory over Boston on July 6, marking the last time someone other than the team's top two starters finished as the winning pitcher.Los Angeles (46-52) rallied to tie Tuesday's contest in the ninth inning, but the bullpen fell apart in Minnesota's seven-run 10th in a 10-3 loss. It has lost six of its last eight, with the offense averaging 2.3 runs in that dismal stretch.Weaver (4-5, 3.30 ERA) will look to help the Angels get on track. He struck out eight in 6 2/3 scoreless innings of a 4-1 victory over Oakland on Friday, improving to 3-1 with a 1.64 ERA over his last five starts."You want to try to utilize all your pitches throughout the course of a game," Weaver said. "Certain pitches weren't there early, but I was able to get them later on. Slider was really effective, was able to throw that to both lefties and righties."The right-hander has made only 12 starts this season due to a broken elbow that kept him out for most of April and May. He's pitched well after some early struggles and now will look for another solid outing against the Twins.Weaver no-hit Minnesota on May 2, 2012, before allowing one run in six innings of an 8-3 win over the Twins five days later in his most recent start against them.Minnesota, though, has been on a tear of late, winning six of its last seven. It has won five straight meetings with Los Angeles and is on the verge of sweeping the Angels on the road for the first time since 1996.Joe Mauer returned home earlier Tuesday as his wife was expecting to give birth to twins, forcing Chris Herrmann to make an emergency start behind the plate. He filled in nicely, going 3 for 5 and hitting a grand slam in the 10th."I'm always ready to play," Herrmann said. "I want to help out the team and I want us to win, and I was fortunate to help out tonight."The Twins (43-54) will look to stay hot as they send Mike Pelfrey to the mound.Pelfrey (4-7, 5.40) has been pitching better of late, going 1-1 with a 2.55 ERA over his last three starts while decreasing his ERA in each of his last seven. He allowed two runs in 5 2/3 innings of Minnesota's 3-2 win over Cleveland on Friday."I think for as bad mechanically as I felt, I thought I grinded," Pelfrey said. "I'd prefer not to grind. I'd prefer to have some clean innings, some smooth innings. But there's going to be days like this, and you can't just give up."The right-hander gave up four runs and seven hits through five innings versus the Angels on April 16, but the Twins provided the necessary run support to give him an 8-6 win.Pelfrey also won his two previous starts against Los Angeles while pitching for the New York Mets.
Over the past month, Jered Weaver has thrown 318 pitches out of the strike zone (fifth most in AL) and gotten 134 strikes on those pitches, trailing only Justin Verlander and Max Scherzer. That doesn't bode well for the Twins, who are hitting just .141 and slugging .174 when they put a pitch out of the strike zone in play. Both those averages are last in the AL.