Game No. 21: Los Angeles Angels (10-10) vs. Washington Nationals (11-10)

By Jose Serrano

Apr 18, 2014; Detroit, MI, USA; Los Angeles Angels starting pitcher Jered Weaver (36) warms up before the first inning against the Detroit Tigers at Comerica Park. Mandatory Credit: Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

April 1, 2013 was the last time the Los Angeles Angels were above .500. Following an Opening Day victory, they lost the next three games and never recovered. Seattle’s opening series sweep this year instilled similar fears and tainted what was an inspired spring training.

Fortunately the Angels pulled it together, largely in part to Albert Pujols and Josh Hamilton’s resurgence, and Garrett Richards’ near-flawless outings. They sit one game away from their first winning record of 2014 and three games back of division-leading Oakland. Jered Weaver looks to carry the momentum into his first-ever start at Nationals Park.

Pitching Matchup– Jered Weaver (1-2, 4.74 ERA) vs. Gio Gonzalez (3-1, 2.88 ERA)

The short of Weaver’s season is that his velocity is down and he’s not locating pitches. Three consecutive losses seven walks, nine earned runs, and five home runs allowed-four coming against the Houston Astros- attest to that. Aside from his loss to the New York Mets, Weaver dominates interleague competition. He’s 15-4 in in 27 starts with a 2.82 strikeout-to-walk ratio.

The silver lining here in Weaver’s season is in his victory over the Tigers last Friday, allowing one run in six innings. The control isn’t completely there yet-giving up three walks-but he stepped up when the Angels needed his most, limiting a Detroit’s potent lineup to three hits.

Part of the reason Washington leads the senior circuit in strikeouts is Gio Gonzalez. He leads the staff in wins, leads starters in ERA, and is second only to Stephen Strasburg in punchouts. As if that weren’t enough, the left-hander has a lifetime 7-2 records against the Angels.

Walk offs:

  1. Last night, Pujols become the only player in Major League history to hit his 499th and 500th home runs in the same game.
  2. Together, Pujols and Mike Trout have more homers than four team (Mets, Cardinals, Orioles, Royals)
  3. The Angels are 7-1 against Washington since their moving to our nation’s capital.

TV: 4:05 p.m. PT, Fox Sports West, MASN

Radio: KLAA 830, 106.7 The Fan (Washington D.C.)