I think the Angels have found the answer to their bullpen problems. The night after journeyman, Jerome Williams, threw his first shutout in 7 years, Angel's ace, Jered Weaver threw his first career no-hitter as the Angels beat the Minnesota Twins 9-0.
Weaver was absolutely masterful for 9 innings as he joined the ranks of Nolan Ryan, Mike Witt, Clyde Wright, Bo Belinsky, and Ervin Santana (last year) as the only Angel's pitchers to ever throw a complete-game no-hitter.
Narrowly missing a perfect game thanks to one walk and a passed-ball strikeout, Weaver struck out nine batters on 121 pitches to cap off the perfect story that every little boy dreams of having.
In media and entertainment, we often hear of "every little girl's dream" to be a princess or a magical wedding, or "every boy's father" who dreams of his son becoming a greater success than he ever was. I'm here to tell you that every little boy who grows up playing baseball, dreams of throwing a complete-game no-hitter in front of their friends and family at home.
Jered Weaver, a local boy, grew up a Dodgers fan, lived less than 30 minutes from Angels Stadium, and went to college at Long Beach State. He was drafted in the first round by the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim, was thrust into the role of ace due to the departure of fan favorite, John Lackey, and was the runner-up to the 2011 Cy Young Award.
I love Weaver for what he has accomplished, but the feeling I, as well as many others, have for the Angel's ace is a lot more complicated. You see, we envy Jered Weaver. He is everything the little boy in us wishes we had become. We have tried and failed, and now, for many of us, our grasp at greatness is to live vicariously through Weaver's gifted arm.
In an age when most young pitchers seek the big contracts in the free agent market, Weaver gave the Angels a hometown discount when he signed a five-year, $85 million contract extension last season. He could have easily gone anywhere else and got more money, but he chose to stay here. Why? Because there's a little boy in Jered Weaver who is jumping up and down right now for being able to live out his dream so close to home with friends and family watching from all around.
Oh yeah, the Angels offense went nuts and scored 9 runs tonight. No Chronic Tacos for those who attended the game (suckers!). I don't think the fans mind too much as they were able to witness the first no-hitter at Angel Stadium in over 20 years.
Howard's Big Bat
Howie must really like the pressure being taken off of him now that's he's not batting second in front of Albert Pujols. Since being moved to the six-hole last night, Kendrick has 2 home runs, a triple, 4 RBIs, 2 runs scored on 7 hits. Talk about great back-to-back games. And he narrowly missed hitting for the cycle last night.
Jerome Williams 3-hit Shutout (12/81)
I missed covering the game last night as I was busy celebrating the Lakers win over the Denver Nuggets (hey, life happens), but I did get to catch Jerome Williams first shutout in 7 years. Just like Weaver did tonight, Williams only faced 2 batters over the minimum in an amazing performance that will shut down any speculation of Garrett Richards being called up to take Williams' spot in the rotation.
I'm proud of Williams. Next to Mark Trumbo, he was the most pleasant surprise of the Angels last year. He's come a long way, and, a guy who claims to be a smarter pitcher, is going to keep getting his chances to bring the Angels closer to a playoff spot.
I truly believe this series versus the Twins was exactly what the Angels needed. Great starting pitching has led to the "turn of the tide." Now we just need that Pujols guy to start hitting.