Jered Weaver has looked perfectly comfortable against National League foes over the last five years.
After some recent lackluster performances, the Los Angeles Angels are hoping he can draw on that success Wednesday night when they dig in against the struggling A.J. Burnett and the Philadelphia Phillies.
The Angels (69-49) entered Tuesday's opener of this two-game set sporting a toiling offense, producing just 13 runs during a 1-5 stretch. Then they scored all seven runs of a 7-2 victory Tuesday in the sixth inning alone.
Kole Calhoun was 3 for 4 with his 12th home run, backing up a strong effort by C.J. Wilson, who gave up two runs in 6 2-3 innings for his first victory in six starts.
"It's nice to bust out like that, and it hopefully gets us rolling," said Calhoun, who has gone 9 for 21 in his last four contests. "This is a talented offense up and down. It's going to turn around."
Mike Trout is still slumping at Angel Stadium, going 5 for 36 with 13 strikeouts over his last nine at home.
Weaver (12-7, 3.68 ERA) will try to follow Wilson's lead after some mediocre work lately. He surrendered four runs in six innings of a 4-2 loss to Boston on Friday - two starts after giving up a season-worst six earned runs in five innings at Baltimore.
"I really wanted to come in and throw a good game, and it wasn't really the case," Weaver said after the loss to the Red Sox, his first defeat in 10 starts. "I was kind of battling the whole night. I couldn't make pitches. That's all there is to it."
However, the right-hander has fared well in interleague action, going 10-1 with a 2.16 ERA in his last 18 starts against NL clubs dating back to June 26, 2009. He also won his only matchup with the Phillies, giving up a run in 5 1-3 innings of a 3-2 victory on June 22, 2008.
Burnett (6-12, 4.29) finds himself in a much worse stretch for Philadelphia (53-67), going 0-4 with a 6.66 ERA in his last five starts. He's also 2-6 with a 6.75 ERA in his last nine road games.
The 16th-year veteran seemed to draw the line for himself after giving up five runs and a season high-matching 11 hits over six innings of a 5-4 home loss to the New York Mets on Friday.
"It's time to get better. I'm pretty sure they didn't bring me over here to be like this all year, inconsistent," he told MLB's official website. "I've got to get the ball back in the zone, get back in my lanes and get the ball back on the corners where it belongs."
Burnett was the loser in a 3-0 defeat against the Angels on May 14, falling to 2-3 with a 4.81 ERA in nine career matchups.
Brennan Boesch, called up Tuesday from Triple-A Salt Lake to try to give Los Angeles a spark, is 3 for 7 against him.
Marlon Byrd is 8 for 25 versus Weaver with four doubles, though he has just one extra-base hit in his last 36 at_bats overall.
The Angels have won eight straight in the series since dropping the teams' first-ever meeting on June 9, 2003.
The Associated Press News Service
The Associated Press
All Rights Reserved