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Will Jered Weaver’s no-hitter help Angels turn things around?

May 3, 2012, 2:35 AM EST

weaver-120502.standard[1] Getty Images

Jered Weaver couldn’t hold back the tears in the aftermath of his first career no-hitter on Wednesday night against the Minnesota Twins.

After an emotional celebration with his Angels teammates, he hugged his parents and his wife before taking the microphone to address the crowd.

“My mom, my dad, my wife, I mean this is awesome to have these guys (here),” he said. “This is why I stayed here for you guys. This is awesome.”

It was the biggest of moments for the native of Northridge Simi Valley, Calif., who stunned many last August when he gave up the right to become a free agent and instead signed a five-year, $85 million deal to stay with his hometown Angels. (It’s a deal that includes a full no-trade clause, by the way.)

Yes, the Twins are a bad team that was playing without Justin Morneau, but Weaver was hardly touched, allowing only two runners on the evening. The first came in the second inning, as Chris Parmelee reached base on a strikeout when Angels catcher Chris Iannetta was unable to hold onto the ball. Weaver later let Iannetta off the hook for ruining a potential perfect game, walking Josh Willingham with two outs in the seventh.

Weaver pitched masterfully, even if his stuff wasn’t electric. His fastball averaged only 89 mph (topping out at 92.8), but his pitches had plenty of movement and he lived on the edges of the strike zone.

“Weaver had everything working,” Angels center fielder Peter Bourjos told MLB Network radio. “His fastball he was locating on both sides of the plate. … It was fun to watch. He worked quick and pounded the zone and really kept them off balance. It was a pretty easy night for me. I think the fly balls I got were routine popups. I barely had to move.”

Two of the final three outs were fairly well hit – Jamey Carroll flew out to Vernon Wells in left field leading off the ninth, and Alexi Casilla hit a drive to right that Torii Hunter ran down on the warning track to end it. Otherwise the Twins managed to compile little more than a collection of lazy fly balls and pop-ups, whiffing nine times.

Moving forward, you have to wonder if this is the sort of thing that will help the Angels relax and begin playing the sort of ball most expected of them when they signed Albert Pujols and C.J. Wilson in the offseason. Playing the Twins certainly helps, as a scuffling offense woke up to score 17 runs in a three-game sweep. They’re 10-15 now and seven games behind the powerful Rangers, but there is a lot of baseball to be played, and it’s not out of the realm of possibility that this could still be a 90-win team, or even better.

“I think the offense is starting to wake up,” Bourjos said. “The pitching’s been there most of the year and it’s just really on the offense. That middle of the order, you saw what it did tonight, and I think it’s going to continue the rest of the year.”

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  1. sictransitchris - May 3, 2012 at 2:41 AM

    Short answer: No.

    • antlerclaws - May 3, 2012 at 9:39 AM

      Playing the Twins 6 times in 2 weeks will certainly help. But three with Toronto who’s playing pretty good baseball right now, then 3 in Arlington against Texas–I think this stretch will define the Angels’ season, whether it goes North or South.

  2. mungman69 - May 3, 2012 at 3:00 AM

    The Angels have too good a team to be playing like this. But they better get started soon or it may be too late.

  3. angrycorgi - May 3, 2012 at 7:31 AM

    Albert Pujols still wen 1-for-5 on the day and is still under the Mendoza Line. I’m sure it helps bullpen moral, but their relievers just aren’t any good and their biggest bat is still slumping. If the starters can’t pitch a least 7 innings every game, it’s gonna be hard to win close games.

    • jarathen - May 3, 2012 at 9:36 AM

      But that’s how they’re going to win. The starter will go 7+ innings. Scott Downs will finish as needed.

      This team needs to go 2005 White Sox to win, but they certainly can.

  4. alexo0 - May 3, 2012 at 7:54 AM

    The premise of this post is that Weaver’s no-no should be looked at in a vacuum, its own feat without consideration for outside circumstances. To do so assumes that Jerome Williams is nearly Weaver’s pitching equal. Do not make that mistake. If anything, it will be playing the Twins that will help the Angels turn it around.

    • jarathen - May 3, 2012 at 9:36 AM

      Whatever it takes to get the team feeling like it can win.

  5. angrycorgi - May 3, 2012 at 9:24 AM

    This may sound like crazy talk, but CJ Wilson has been pitching really well as of late (assisted by far-away fences at Anaheim), but anyone who has watched Wilson for any length of time knows that he’s due for a meltdown game soon. He’ll give you a few great outing and then lay a gigantic egg every 5th or 6th start.

    • jarathen - May 3, 2012 at 9:37 AM

      A pitcher who gives a team a chance to go 4-1 every five starts is pretty darn good.

  6. SmackSaw - May 3, 2012 at 11:26 AM

    It asinine to think this team will be mired in a season long slump. This is baseball. Anything can happen. They’ve only played 25 games. As bad as they’ve been, they’re only 7 games out. If the 2002 A’s can put together a 20 winning streak, the Angels can play .600 ball over the next 137 games. Please.

  7. hcf95688 - May 3, 2012 at 11:58 AM

    Will Jered Weaver’s no-hitter help Angels turn things around? Only if they get to play the Twins every game from here on out.

  8. elgorditodehumboldt - May 3, 2012 at 3:36 PM

    FYI – he is a native of Simi Valley, CA (my hometown), not Northridge. I went all through junior high and high school with his brother, Jeff.

    • Bob Harkins - May 3, 2012 at 6:18 PM

      You’re absolutely right. Thanks

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