Originally posted on Fox Sports West  |  Last updated 5/14/12
ARLINGTON, Texas Jered Weaver was not auditioning for "American Idol," but as he walked off the mound in the fourth inning Sunday night, he sang along to his own exit music. While the song "Hit the Road, Jack" played over the stadium public address system, Weaver could be seen mouthing the words to the Ray Charles hit. "I was singing the song, 'Hit the Road, Jack,' because that's exactly what I needed to do hit the road," Weaver said. "I wasn't pitching to my capabilities. It was obviously time for me to hit the road at that point." And time for the Angels, too. They couldn't pack their bags fast enough. One night after a rousing victory over the Rangers, the Angels belly-flopped. One night after Mark Trumbo suggested the need to play with an attitude, they were blown out. Now they return home with a 3-3 record on their six-game trip, with 20 losses, with an eight-game deficit in the American League West and with another missed opportunity to show they can create some momentum. "We'll turn the page on this one," manager Mike Scioscia said in the wake of a 13-6 Rangers victory that gave Texas the series. "Those guys had a great night in the batter's box and we'll have to pick it up and keep moving forward." There is no relief in sight. The Angels are at the beginning of a difficult stretch of 20 games in 20 days. They play two games each against the Oakland A's and Chicago White Sox at home, then go back on the road for stops in San Diego, Oakland and Seattle. A win over the Rangers would have put them in good position to make a move and given them a shot of confidence, but now they know what everyone else does in the American League: The Rangers are explosive. "They don't give you a chance to breathe," Weaver said. "You've got to be fine with all your pitches and that wasn't the case tonight." Weaver had been the one sure thing for the Angels this season, but Rangers Ballpark is his Achilles heel. Sunday's loss left him with a 2-7 record and 5.21 ERA here in 14 career starts. He lasted 3 13 innings, his shortest outing since 2008, and matched his career high with eight runs allowed. After the Rangers scored five runs in the third, including a grand slam by Nelson Cruz, Weaver returned to the dugout, threw his cap against the wall and walked the length of the dugout, screaming. Teammates gave him plenty of room. "He was keyed up for the game," Scioscia said. "It's a game he looked forward to pitching in. He wants to be that guy that goes into a tough ballpark and pitches a good game. He's done it for us time in and time out, but he didn't get it done tonight." Weaver's anger was clearly the result of letting batters get away. He had two strikes on Michael Young in the third inning but gave up a double that put runners at second and third. He had an 0-and-2 count on David Murphy but walked him, setting up Cruz' slam. "Those guys are good over there," Weaver said. "If you fall behind and let them get in hitter's counts, they're going to put damage on you. They've been doing it to a lot of people all year." He pitched to four batters in the fourth, gave up three hits and was pulled. The last batter he faced was Josh Hamilton, who came up with runners at second and third and one out. Conventional wisdom says Hamilton should be intentionally walked, but Weaver had struck out the Texas slugger his first two times up. This time, Hamilton doubled to right-center field, driving in two runs, and Weaver was gone. "It's give or take," Weaver said. "You face Hamilton, who's hot as anybody in the league right now, and if you walk him, now you have Adrian Beltre with the bases loaded. It's pick your poison really." That's when the stadium music struck up "Hit the Road, Jack." And that's what Weaver did. The Angels' offense showed a little life, producing homers from Trumbo, Vernon Wells and Kendrys Morales. Trumbo's two-run shot in the second inning off Neftali Perez gave the Angels a 2-1 lead, but by the fifth, Texas was in front 10-2. Where do the Angels go from here? It's getting more and more difficult to sound optimistic, but they're trying. It's still only May, and there's an entire summer of baseball still to play. "We just want to go out there and win ballgames," Weaver said. "It would've been nice to do it against Texas, which is leading the division, but it just didn't happen this series. What do we have 16, 17 more against them? We'll turn the page here, to back on the homestand and try to get the ball rolling again." That's all they can do. There's not much else left.
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