Rotation appears set to go

Times Staff Writer

OAKLAND -- Several position players are nursing injuries, but the Angels’ rotation appears to be in excellent shape going into the playoffs.

Game 1 starter John Lackey threw seven shutout innings, giving up two hits, against the Oakland A’s on Friday night, Game 2 starter Kelvim Escobar gave up one run and five hits in six innings Saturday, and Game 3 starter Jered Weaver gave up one run and four hits in six innings of the Angels’ 3-2 loss to Oakland on Sunday.

Weaver, making his first start since Sept. 20 -- Manager Mike Scioscia pushed the right-hander back so he could align his playoff rotation -- had good life on his fastball. His only mistake was a pitch that Daric Barton hit for an opposite-field home run in the third inning.


“A little extra rest was beneficial,” said Weaver, who got a no-decision and closed the season with a 13-7 record and 3.91 earned-run average. “It was nice to have a couple of extra days. I felt good.”

Weaver, whose only taste of the playoffs has been the handful of Octobers he tagged along with older brother Jeff, is eager to make his first playoff start, but Game 3 won’t be until Sunday in Angel Stadium.

“I’m definitely looking forward to it,” Weaver said. “It seemed like the season went by so fast, then when we clinched, this last week has felt like a whole season waiting for the playoffs to begin. It’s an exciting time for me and the team.”

The Angels had only four hits Sunday against Chad Gaudin, who gave up three hits in eight innings and had a career-high 11 strikeouts, and closer Huston Street.

But one was an opposite-field home run by Mike Napoli, the catcher’s 10th home run and first since his July 23 shot against Gaudin in Anaheim. Napoli sat out all of August because of strained right hamstring.

The other was an impressive solo shot by Kendry Morales against Street. Morales is batting .324 (24 for 74) in his last 21 games, and if Vladimir Guerrero can play right field in the playoffs, Morales has a good shot of starting at designated hitter.


Garret Anderson, who sat out the weekend because of conjunctivitis, will be examined by a doctor today, but Scioscia said he “doesn’t anticipate any problems” with the left fielder being ready for the playoffs. . . . Lackey, who finished with a 19-9 record and 3.01 ERA, became the first Angels pitcher to win the American League ERA title since Frank Tanana (2.54) in 1977. . . . Reggie Willits set Angels rookie records for batting average (.293) and on-base percentage (.391). . . . The Angels finished with a franchise-record .284 team batting average, beating the previous mark of .282, set in 2004, 2002 and 1979.