Originally posted on Fox Sports West  |  Last updated 8/7/12
There was nothing wrong with the Angels that Jered Weaver couldn't fix. At a time of uncertainty, Weaver gave his team exactly what it needed Monday night. There is no way to fully measure what he means to the Angels-- and what his presence in the rotation will mean over the final weeks of the season -- but he proved again why he's the Angels' ace and why they'll need him if they hope to advance to the postseason. On the final leg of a challenging three-city, 10-game trip, Weaver offered one of his most commanding performances of the summer -- and not just because he beat the Oakland A's 4-0. As much as a win, the Angels needed someone to pitch deep into a game to give their bullpen a much-needed night off, and that's what they got. Weaver pitched a four-hit, complete-game shutout over the A's, but more important, he made sure the team's weary relievers weren't needed. Closer Ernesto Frieri was warming up in the bullpen in the ninth, but Weaver retired the side in order. It was an incredible game, Angels manager Mike Scioscia told reporters after the game. It was a great time for a game like that any time from Weav, but to get it after what we've been through with our bullpen gave us a big lift. It shouldn't take long for some guys to reset. A game like this goes a long way. The last time an Angels starter pitched as far as the eighth inning was July 7, and it was Weaver who did it. He improved his record to 15-1 and his ERA to 2.13, won his ninth start in a row and gave the Angels their first complete game since Ervin Santana beat the Arizona Diamondbacks 2-0 on June 16 -- more than seven weeks ago. The bullpen had been responsible for three blown saves and all four losses on the team's current trip, giving up 23 earned runs in 21 13 innings. Worse, relievers Scott Downs (left shoulder strain) and Jordan Walden (neck) are on the disabled list, leaving Scioscia with a tired, overworked group. That's why Weaver's effort was so important. He kept his pitch count relatively low, allowed only one base runner to advance as far as second base and struck out nine. He attacked batters early in counts, kept his fielders engaged and induced 10 ground balls outs. His offense contributed just enough support. Shortstop Erick Aybar, activated from the DL earlier in the day, had three hits and scored two runs. Mike Trout reached base four times and stole three bases on the eve of his 21st birthday. Torii Hunter provided two critical insurance runs with a seventh-inning single that turned a 2-0 lead into 4-0. The win came on the heels of a debilitating series loss to the Chicago White Sox, but now the Angels are 4-4 on their trip. They moved to within five games of first-place Texas in the American League West and pushed past the A's into second place. Now they have a chance to come home with a winning record on the trip. If they do, it will erase everything that went wrong in Texas and Chicago.
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