Jered Weaver certainly is no fan favorite ’round these parts, partly because he’s the brother of Jeff, who quickly fell out of favor in a Tigers uniform years ago, but mostly because of that head-hunting temper tantrum he showed off at Comerica Park back in July.
Tigers fans, however, might just find themselves pulling for the Angels ace — even though a good start in Game 161 next Tuesday could cost their own ace, Justin Verlander, the first pitchers’ Triple Crown since 2006.
(Update: Weaver now is scheduled to pitch the regular-season finale, Wednesday.)
A 6-5 loss to Baltimore on Saturday night put Detroit one game back of Texas in the race for home-field advantage in at least the first round of the postseason. The team with the best record between the Tigers and Rangers will host either the Red Sox or Rays in the division series, while the other ballclub will be forced to start on the road at Yankee Stadium.
It’s looking like the Tigers-Rangers race could go down to the wire, and it just so happens that Texas’ final regular-season opponent will be L.A. And Weaver is scheduled to pitch the second-to-last game of the season.
Verlander, with a no-decision Saturday night, has finished the regular season with 24 wins and 250 strikeouts; both will be tops in the league. The ERA, however, is up in the air. Because of the five runs Verlander gave up to the Orioles, his ERA jumped from 2.29 to 2.40. That’s still leading the league, but barely. Weaver’s is 2.41.
So while one more gem by Weaver might help the Tigers secure home-field, it also could deny Verlander the Triple Crown — and, in turn, be just the ammo narrow-minded MVP voters have been looking for to vote for anybody else over the game’s most dominating starting pitcher.
(I’ve also heard way too much lately that Verlander needed 25 wins to be seriously considered for MVP, as if that’s suddenly a new magic number. Well, if Saturday’s one rough start changes anybody’s mind, I’ll be sick.)
Johan Santana, by the way, was the Triple Crown winner. In 2006 for the Twins, he led the league with 19 wins, a 2.77 ERA and 245 strikeouts.