Jered Weaver takes the ball for the first time since his no-hitter this evening and will be facing the team he shut down, as the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim open a three-game set with the Minnesota Twins at Target Field.
Weaver becomes the first pitcher since Derek Lowe in 2002 to no-hit an opponent and face the same team in the next start and the sixth since the beginning of the 1991 season. Of course, he's also trying to become the first pitcher since Cincinnati's Johnny Vander Meer in 1938 to throw consecutive no- hitters.
"It's my biggest pet peeve about being a pitcher. It's tough," Weaver said of facing the same team in consecutive starts. "Obviously, you face the same team twice, you have to pitch a little bit different, but it's hard to pitch different because you have to pitch to your strength, as well, and the opposing team will know that."
The 29-year-old right-hander was absolutely magnificent on Wednesday against the Twins, as he walked just one batter and struck out nine in throwing the franchise's 10th no-hitter.
Weaver will be facing the Twins for the third time this season tonight and is 6-3 lifetime against them with a 3.73 ERA in 12 starts.
Weaver may also have a rejuvenated Albert Pujols behind him too. Pujols' home run drought ended at 139 at-bats on Sunday when he launched a two-run bomb in the fifth inning to help the Angels best the Toronto Blue Jays, 4-3, in the finale of a four-game set at Angel Stadium.
"I put a good swing on it. It's all about making adjustments," the three-time MVP said. "The fans wanted to see it, I heard the boos; it's part of the game. But the cheers were louder."
Pujols, the 12-year-veteran who signed a 10-year $240 million contract during the offseason, was hitting just .194 entering Sunday and had been given the night off on Saturday.
Jerome Williams (3-1) picked up the victory, scattering eight hits and three runs, two earned, with a walk and four strikeouts, as Los Angeles finished off a split in the series.
"I wasn't as sharp as last game, but when I needed to bear down, I did. I got outs when I needed to," Williams said.
It was not all good news for the hosts, however. Angels closer Scott Downs entered in the ninth but left the game with an apparent left leg injury sustained while attempting to avoid a line drive hit by J.P. Arencibia.
Minnesota, meanwhile, lost the final two games of its set with the Seattle Mariners, falling 5-2 in Sunday's rubber match at Safeco Field.
Ryan Doumit hit two home runs for the Twins while Nick Blackburn (0-4) gave up five runs over six innings to suffer the loss. He has not won since July 8, 2011.
"I thought he was kind of feeling for the ball, wasn't aggressive until later on in the game, and when he got aggressive, he was pretty effective," Minnesota bench coach Scott Ullger said of Blackburn.
Minnesota has managed just five runs and 14 hits while batting .096 in their first five games this month.
The Twins turn to struggling lefty Francisco Liriano, who is 0-4 with a 9.97 ERA. Liriano lost to the Angels on Wednesday, as he surrendered four runs and seven hits in 5 1/3 frames.
Amazingly, it was his best outing of the season.
Liriano has faced the Angels six times (five starts) and is 1-3 with a 7.48 ERA.
The Angels have won four of six against the Twins this season. This, though, is the final series between the teams this year.