Last year's regular-season finale -- a meaningless, blowout loss in which he gave up two first-inning runs and then stopped pitching -- can teach you a lot about Jered Weaver. The Angels came into that game with nothing to play for. They were mathematically eliminated two days earlier, their much-hyped season already a wash, but Weaver himself had plenty to gain on that sleepy Oct. 3 afternoon. He had already won a career-high 20 games and thrown his first no-hitter, once again putting himself squarely in the American League Cy Young discussion, and this was his chance to leave a lasting impression on those who vote for an award he has long deserved. Thing is, he didn't really care. "I wanted to win the World Series," Weaver would say later. "Once we found out we were out of it, I was kind of out of it, too." Major Leaguers will often say they're only concerned about team-oriented achievements, but few truly live it like the Angels' ace. So don't talk to Weaver about all the success he's had over the last three years, while putting himself among the elite pitchers -- and best bargains -- in all of baseball. He doesn't want to hear it. A 2.73 ERA and 573 strikeouts in 648 2/3 innings? Big deal. Three straight trips to the All-Star Game and three top-five finishes in AL Cy Young Award voting? Yeah, so what? A Major League-leading 1.03 WHIP, a third-ranked .608 opponents' OPS and a 3.36 Fielding Independent Pitching score? English, please. Weaver sees only one number in that 2010-12 span: zero. As in, the amount of postseason games his Angels have played. "I don't really need to enjoy what I do, or what I've done over the last three years, when it doesn't really mean anything when we don't make the playoffs and don't make a run in the playoffs," Weaver says. "It's great. You guys like to look at it and say, 'Oh, he's one of the best pitchers in baseball.' I don't look at it like that. I just know we haven't accomplished our goal." When Weaver takes the mound on Monday, at Great American Ball Park against the Reds at 1:10 p.m. PT, it will mark his fourth consecutive Opening Day start. It will also serve as an indication of the quiet consistency the wiry right-hander has achieved -- the type of year-in, year-out production that almost makes you take what he brings for granted.
Stats aside, Weaver longs for postseason return
MLB.com | Mar 29