Weaver did not allow a hit and struck out four in the first three innings, but the Royals hammered him the second time through the order, scoring five runs on six hits, including Mike Moustakas’ solo homer to right-center field and Salvador Perez’s two-run shot to left, in the fourth.
In his first two starts of 2015, against Seattle and Kansas City, Weaver, who went 18-9 with a 3.59 earned-run average last season, has allowed 10 earned runs and 15 hits, including three homers, in 10 1/3 innings, leaving him 0-2 with an 8.71 ERA.
But Manager Mike Scioscia said Weaver’s struggles have nothing to do with the velocity of his fastball, which sat in the 85-mph range Saturday night.
“This is really just a release-point issue with Weav right now,” Scioscia said. “He’ll figure it out. He always does. He’s going to be fine.”
Weaver was one out away from limiting the Royals to one run in the fourth, but he gave up a two-out, two-run single to Alex Rios and hung a 2-and-2 slider to Perez, who ripped it into the left-field seats for a two-run homer and a 6-1 lead.
“Perez swung through two changeups — maybe I threw one too many — but there was more than one pitch that wasn’t located right,” Weaver said. “It was the same story as Seattle. I couldn’t locate like I wanted to, I was falling behind, walking guys. Everything was up. I just wasn’t very good. I have to figure it out.”
The 6-foot-7 Weaver has a complicated delivery that is deceptive for hitters but relies heavily on timing and can be difficult to maintain.
“Trying to get it back in sync is high maintenance,” Scioscia said. “He’s working hard on it. He’ll find it. He made some really good pitches tonight. The second time through the order, he made some mistakes.”
Right fielder Kole Calhoun, who hit a solo homer in the first inning and a two-run double in the fifth, is not worried about the team’s ace.
“He’s our horse — that guy battles for us every time,” Calhoun said. “If you remember back to last year, there were a couple of early starts he didn’t like. I don’t think anybody in the clubhouse is worried about him. He’s going to be fine.”