Jered Weaver tries to duplicate his marvelous Opening Day start this evening when the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim continue a three- game series against the Minnesota Twins at Target Field.
Weaver was spectacular in winning his 2012 debut on Friday against the Kansas City Royals, as he scattered four hits over eight scoreless innings and struck out 10 without walking a batter. That effort came on the heels of him pitching to a 5.40 ERA in five spring training starts.
"It's much easier when the lights come on and it's Friday night and we have a packed house," Weaver said. "It's a much different environment from Spring Training, that's for sure."
Weaver, of course, started his 2011 campaign by winning his first six starts and pitching to a 0.99 earned run average. That beginning set the stage for the best year of his career, as he went 18-8 with a 2.41 ERA and 198 strikeouts en route to a runner-up finish in AL Cy Young voting.
The 29-year-old righty will be trying to get his Angels over .500 tonight after the team hit the break-even mark with a 5-1 win over the Twins in Monday's opener.
C.J. Wilson (1-0) made the most of his first start with the Halos, as he allowed just a run and three hits over seven innings to get the win. The lefty hurler had signed a five-year, $77.5 million deal with LA in the offseason.
"I think when it's a little chilly and dry like it was, the grip is definitely an issue," said Angels manager Mike Scioscia. "But C.J. [Wilson] made pitches when he had to, even though he was a little erratic with those walks. He pitched a strong game."
Nick Blackburn (0-1) allowed five runs on five hits over six-plus innings of work and Josh Willingham smacked a solo home run in the fourth to account for Minnesota's lone run. Joe Mauer and Ryan Doumit tallied hits for the Twins, who fell to 0-4 for the first time since losing the first four games of the 1981 season.
"You don't ever want to start 0-4 and put yourself in a big hole, so it's frustrating," remarked Twins manager Ron Gardenhire. "But it's not the end of the world right now. We can go on a five- or six-game winning streak and we're back above .500. The game can turn quickly."
The Twins hope righty Carl Pavano rights the ship following his own Opening Day loss to Baltimore on Friday. Pavano gave up four runs and five hits over seven innings in that one. He also walked two and struck out a batter.
"I've never been a guy who comes out of the gate as strong as I'll be the next couple of weeks," said Pavano, who has a career 4.76 ERA in April. "Right now, I'm a little lower than I've been in the past but you've just got to execute better pitches and it's not always about velocity. That's nice to have. I'll get there."
He has faced the Angels seven times and is 4-2 against them with a 4.31 ERA.
The Angels won six of nine against the Twins a season ago, taking two of three in Minnesota from May 27-29.