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Wednesday, May 06, 2009

Jeff Weaver, Reclamation X2: Dodgers 3, Diamondbacks 1

Is this tape on rewind? Jeff Weaver seems to constantly be tagged with the "reclamation project" title; nobody trusts his ability to get the job done, and his track record generally affirms that. I'm a sucker for stories like this one (as I have been with the Angels' Matt Palmer and Shane Loux), and I sure was drawn into it the first time. Yanked out of the Yankees rotation with all the expectations that entailed, the former Tiger actually produced reasonably well for the Dodgers in 2004-5, giving the Dodgers a pair of league-average seasons, but his 2006 with the Angels was a disaster; through some miracle or accident, he ended up the winner on the mound for St. Louis in their 2006 World Series clinching Game 5. But his 2007 with Seattle was another train wreck, and he spent all of last year in the minors waiting for a callup from two different teams that never came.

Well: however much run support Weaver needed, and that's usually quite a bit, he got in the first inning, as the Blue plated three, in part thanks to some sloppy play by the Diamondbacks (a Josh Wilson throwing error allowed Russell Martin to reach and Andre Ethier to score). Arizona only scored on Weaver's wild pitch in the third, but otherwise he pretty much had them eating out of his hands for five innings, striking out six. A really nice game for him, and Weaver's first win since Sep. 18, 2007 against Oakland.

Jonathan Broxton was once again dynamic, and he seems to be spending this year dissipating whatever doubts I had about him in the closer role; he's posting otherworldly numbers, 0.64 ERA with a .429 WHIP and a 16.1 K/9, the kind of rate stats that even begin to make Eric Gagne at his peak look like a piker. The main story the rest of the media will press is the Dodgers tying the major league home wins streak to start a season (tied at 12 with the 1911 Detroit Tigers), but to me, this is far more impressive.

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