I got blessed with tickets to the Giants-Angels game at SBCAT&T Park last night. There weren't any ferries for this game, so we drove. We left kinda late. The Bay Bridge was all backed up. It took half an hour just to get to the toll plaza from my house; it normally takes about ten minutes. I didn't arrive at the park until the third inning.
In the fifth inning, it started to pour. They called the game in the sixth. Kind of a waste of time, but at least I got to see the Angels' top pitching prospect, Jered Weaver, for a few innings with my own two eyes instead of Rich Lederer's.
I particularly enjoyed watching him take on Barry Bonds for an at-bat. That was fun. Bonds flied to left in his first plate appearance, while I was still on the bridge.
In Bonds' second plate appearance, Weaver fell behind 2-0. Gotta figure Bonds was sitting fastball. Weaver threw a really nice slider instead, and Bonds took it for a called strike one. Weaver had been throwing fastballs all evening around 91-92 mph, and I figured Bonds was still sitting on it. If he threw another one, I was sure Bonds would crush it. Sure enough, Weaver does throw him a fastball, but he suddenly cranks the dial all the way up to 96, and Bonds fouls it off straight back.
Next two pitches were just off the plate, the kind of pitches that only a batter with a great eye like Bonds lays off. Bonds walked. Still, I was impressed. Weaver was pitching. He struck out the next batter, Pedro Feliz, by dropping down sidearm and throwing him a changeup. Wow. Feliz swung feebly and missed, completely fooled.
Physically, Jared Weaver looks an awful lot like his brother. He's tall and gangly, and I can imagine he'll have days where all those long appendages don't quite synch up as well as they did last night.
Stylistically, however, he reminded me not so much of his brother as of Tim Hudson. They're physical opposites--Hudson is probably about eight inches shorter than Weaver--but the way Weaver just seemed to invent new pitches out of nowhere against Bonds and Feliz was quite Hudsonesque. They both use a low-90s fastball, and mix in a bunch of other stuff--sliders, curves, changeups. Weaver, like Hudson, doesn't seem to have that dominant #1 starter stuff, like a Johan Santana, Rich Harden, or Felix Hernandez. But he has such a diverse arsenal of weapons, he's clearly capable of being a solid #2 starter for a long time to come. Look out AL West.