Jered Weaver breaks the ice in Angels' 2-0 win over Astros

Jered Weaver breaks the ice in Angels' 2-0 win over Astros
Angels pitcher Jered Weaver tosses the ball to first base to put outHouston's Jonathan Villar on a ground ball in the eighth inning Friday night in Anaheim. (Alex Gallardo / Associated Press)

Angels pitcher Jered Weaver began his day at Angel Stadium bouncing around the clubhouse with a what-me-worry look despite being winless in the second week of May.

He finished the evening with a don't-mess-with-me glare, not uncommon for a pitcher who is winless in the second week of May.


This, though, had a twist. Weaver was scowling in victory. Weaver turned back the clock a little in a 2-0 shutout over the Houston Astros on Friday.

He found a little more oomph from his fastball and looked like the ace the Angels so dearly need him to be.

"I saw glimpses of it tonight," Weaver said. "It was a step in the right direction in trying to prove people wrong."

First, though, he had to prove who tossed the last pitch Friday.

Weaver entered Friday winless in six starts, with a 0-4 record and an earned-run average that would be a bad interest rate on home mortgage loan (6.29).

Teammates were so giddy with Weaver tossing his first shutout since 2012 that they showered him with affection while he was being interviewed on television after the game. Well, they showered him anyway.

A bucket of Gatorade wasn't enough, so teammates pelted him with gum and anything else that was handy, which included a full water bottle that struck Weaver in the chest.

Weaver, needless to say, was not amused. He stared into the dugout looking for the culprit.

Asked about the bottle, Weaver coldly replied, "baseball questions only."

There were plenty of those for a pitcher who won 18 games last season, yet struggled to get win No. 1 this season.

Weaver was dominant throughout, giving up six hits. He struck out six and did not walk a batter.

"It's nice to get the monkey off my back," Weaver said.

It was reaching gorilla proportions.

Weaver had allowed 11 earned runs in his last 12 innings, covering two starts. His velocity had dropped considerably to where he was having difficulty topping 84 mph.


Weaver's woes this season were viewed from three different angles.

There was the manager.

"Even if the velocity doesn't pick up, his ability to command the ball and do what he can do gives him the opportunity to be a big winner for us," Manager Mike Scioscia said.

There was the pitching coach.

"You guys have to remember, with his [velocity] was down last year, he won 18 games," Mike Butcher said.

There was the catcher.

"I think the only difference [this year] would be his command," catcher Chris Iannetta said. "I think he was a little more precise last year and I think that led to a little more success."

Weaver found that precision Friday.

He dangled improved velocity before the Astros. Weaver's first 11 pitches were fastballs that hit between 85 to 87 mph. His fastball dipped below 85 only twice and he hit 89 once.

"I'm happy to get people out," said Weaver, who retired 21 of the last 23 batters. "I don't care about velocity."

The improvement, he said, came with his work between starts. Weaver and Butcher fiddled with his delivery.

"I wasn't fighting myself out there tonight," Weaver said. "There was more energy in my delivery."

Scioscia saw the victory as a boost, particularly for the way Weaver controlled the game, keeping the Astros off balance with his changeup.

"I knew it was a matter of time," Weaver said.

"But I still have a ways to go."