Weaver, offense fall flat in Angels' finale

Weaver, offense fall flat in Angels' finale

Weaver, offense fall flat in Angels' finale
SEATTLE -- A part of Jered Weaver wanted to dominate at Safeco Field on Wednesday afternoon, ending the best season of his career on a high note and making one final statement in hopes of capturing his first Cy Young Award.

But part of him also found it too difficult to get up for a regular-season finale that had absolutely no postseason ramifications.

"I wanted to win a World Series," Weaver said after a 12-0 Mariners rout that instead ended the Angels' season with a third straight playoff absence. "Once we found out we were out of it, I was kind of out of it, too."

The Angels, in an uphill climb to achieve their lofty expectations from the get-go, were mathematically eliminated on Monday night, stripping away any real meaning from their last two regular-season games.

With the life sucked out of them, they ended 2012 with a whimper, losing back-to-back games to finish the season 89-73 and fail to reach 90 victories for a third straight year.

On Tuesday, they were shut out through six innings by Hisashi Iwakuma. On Wednesday, they were held scoreless through eight against Blake Beavan, eventually getting shut out for the 13th time this season (the most since 1992). And in both games, an offense that finished third in the AL in runs combined to go 2-for-23 with runners in scoring position.

Weaver only made it through one inning, which saw him give up two runs on two walks and two hits while throwing 25 pitches. His shoulder felt a little too weak, but not to the extent of triggering any injury concern.

It was just tough for him to get up for a game with only individual goals at stake.

"My body was just kind of shutting down," Weaver said. "I just kind of felt it in the bullpen, the shoulder wasn't really feeling up to par. It's tough to turn it on for games like this."

But Weaver turned it on for the games that mattered.

In a season that saw him throw his first no-hitter and reach 100 career victories, Weaver finished 20-5 to tie David Price for the American League lead in wins. His 2.81 ERA ranks third, behind only Price (2.56) and Justin Verlander (2.64), while his 1.02 WHIP is tied with Clayton Kershaw for the lowest in the Majors. When the rotation struggled early, posting a collective 5.50 ERA while the team went 14-22, it was Weaver who kept them afloat.

In the eyes of many, the Cy Young Award is still an open competition.

In the eyes of Mike Scioscia, it's not.

"In my mind, he's the Cy Young winner," the Angels' skipper said. "I think if you break down our team, and especially the circumstances of carrying us, for really what was six weeks, we're not in playoff contention, we're not in a pennant race, if it wasn't for what Jered did, just taking the ball every fifth day, coming in and saying, 'Hey, I'll pitch in three days if I have to,' doing whatever. This guy wants to win. He's a pitcher in the true sense of the word, and in my mind he's the Cy Young winner."

What about Mike Trout?

Wednesday saw Tigers third baseman Miguel Cabrera lock up the first Triple Crown since Carl Yastrzemski in 1967, finishing the season with a .330 batting average, 44 homers and 139 RBIs.

Trout, meanwhile, went 2-for-3 to finish the season with a .326 batting average, second only to Cabrera in the AL. Had he been able to steal second base in the first inning -- he was caught for only the fifth time all year -- Trout would've been only the third player in baseball history to finish a season with 30 homers and 50 steals in one season, joining Barry Bonds and Eric Davis.

But like Weaver, Trout simply found it difficult to focus down the stretch.

"These last two games, when Oakland knocked us out, it was tough to stay concentrated," Trout said, hours after the A's won their sixth straight game to stunningly take the AL West away from the Rangers. "It's tough to get motivated. It's a long year, you work so hard, and all of a sudden you're out of it, it's tough."

Long after the game, which the Mariners made a laugher with a six-run seventh inning off Barry Enright, Torii Hunter was sitting in front of his locker, his hand hurting from all the jerseys and baseballs he was signing for teammates, just in case he departs as a free agent this offseason.

Now that the games are over, Angels players will wonder whether Weaver will win the Cy Young and whether Trout will beat out Cabrera for the MVP. Also, they'll wonder about Hunter, and whether the Angels' front office can make it work so that he returns to an outfield that currently has no natural fit for the 37-year-old right fielder.

"Hopefully we can get something done, but if not, I understand," Hunter said. "They have a lot of things to try to clean up before they can even think about offering me a deal, and I understand that. If I have to, I guess I'll have to go elsewhere."

"I had a talk with Torii and told him, 'It's been fun battling with you for the last five years,'" Weaver added. "Hopefully that's not it. Hopefully they bring him back. He's meant a lot to our ballclub."

Alden Gonzalez is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Gonzo and "The Show", and follow him on Twitter @Alden_Gonzalez. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.