White Sox-Angels Preview
ANAHEIM -- Right-hander Jered Weaver continues his rugged struggle of a season when his Los Angeles Angels meet the Chicago White Sox in Sunday's final game of their weekend series.
As recently as 2014, Weaver was one of baseball's best. He shared first place in the American League that year with 18 victories and in the majors overall with 34 starts.
Since then, however, assorted physical problems and decreasing velocity dramatically reduced Weaver's effectiveness. Last season was the worst of his career; the right-hander compiled a 7-12 record and a 4.64 earned-run average. Until 2015, Weaver never won fewer than 11 games or finished with an ERA higher than 4.33.
This season, Weaver matched last year's victory total but is allowing opponents to bat .294 and is projected to finish with a career-worst 4.93 ERA. After collecting five quality starts in the first two months, Weaver has had just three since, though he conceded just one run, one walk and four hits in six innings against the Tampa Bay Rays on July 6 while striking out five in a 7-2 victory.
"I don't know if it's ever easy," Weaver told MLB.com. "I'm just trying to locate pitches and keep those guys off balance."
One constant in the midst of fluctuating success is Weaver's personal tenacity.
"Jered competes," manager Mike Scioscia told MLB.com after Weaver's latest victory. "Just having that element inside of him lets him go out with whatever his tools are and try to win."
For the past two seasons, that tenacity provided the foundation for professional survival.
"About 80 percent of the league wouldn't have been throwing with what I've been throwing the last couple of years," Weaver told MLB.com.
One of Weaver's goals will be to extend Chicago's streak of consecutive innings without scoring. The White Sox enter Sunday's game having not scored in 32 innings.
Opposing Weaver will be right-hander Jacob Turner, who will be making his first major league start in two years. Turner was recalled from Triple-A Charlotte after Saturday night's 1-0 loss and replaces left-hander Carlos Rodon, who is on the disabled list with a sprained left wrist.
Turner, who signed as a free agent in December, made 18 starts for Charlotte. Despite pitching a complete-game shutout, the 25-year-old owns a 4-7 record and a 4.71 ERA. In 107 innings, Turner has allowed 29 walks and 125 hits, including 10 home runs, while amassing 85 strikeouts.
Before signing with the White Sox, Turner spent four seasons with the Detroit Tigers, Miami Marlins and Chicago Cubs. He won his last major league start Sept. 28, 2014 for the Cubs against the Milwaukee Brewers.
Left-hander Chris Sale, who started for the American League in Tuesday night's All-Star Game and pitched one inning, would be pitching on four days rest had he received the start Sunday. But Ventura wanted to give Sale another day off. Sale will pitch Monday night in Seattle.
"I think they pitch harder in that game than they probably would in a normal game," said Ventura, a two-time All-Star. "They definitely throw more fastballs than in a normal game. That's part of the experience. I know it was only one inning but we wanted to make sure he had extended rest."