On Friday night against the Houston Astros, the Los Angeles Angels turned to Zack Weiss in the sixth inning. For most fans, Weiss was likely a player they had never heard of, as the 30-year old reliever has spent a majority of his career at the Triple-A level.
In fact, when he took the mound at Angel Stadium on Friday, it was only the second Major League appearance of his career. His first went about as poorly as it could have gone, as he allowed four runs on two hits and two walks without recording a single out back in 2018 with the Cincinnati Reds.
He was shortly after optioned back to the Minors, leaving him with a career ERA of infinity. So when the Angels presented him with the opportunity to return to the big leagues, he felt he was ready, according to Rhett Bollinger of MLB.com:
“I felt pretty prepared because I had been waiting for this for a long time,” said Weiss, who had his wife, Tiana, his parents, Ernest and Nancy, and sister, Ariana, in attendance. “It was cool, obviously. It would’ve been nice if we won the ballgame but I was happy to get the opportunity. It was cool the way it went and I looked up and saw some family and saw my dad fist-pumping. So that was special.”
Most importantly, Weiss pitched flawlessly in 1.1 innings of work. He recorded four outs, only one of which saw the ball actually leave in the infield, and did so against the heart of the Astros order in Jose Altuve, Jeremy Peña, and Alex Bregman.
This brought his career ERA down to 27.00, a still unsavory figure. But his Angels ERA is 0.00, and Phil Nevin hopes he can keep it that way for as long as possible.
“I thought he threw great,” said interim manager Phil Nevin. “A lot of strikes and not good contact off him. I loved the way the ball came out of his hand with the fastball and the slider. I wanted to give him a soft landing in his first time back to the big leagues in four years, but he pitched great and I put him back out there to face another tough hitter in Bregman. He got him to pop up and did a great job and kept us in the game.”
It only took Weiss 12 pitches to record those four outs. 10 of those pitches were strikes, showing strong confidence despite it being his first MLB appearance in over four years.
For teams without playoff aspirations, this is exactly what the final month of the season is for. The Angels are hoping they can find some gems within their Minor League system that can help to build out their 2023 roster, one they believe can be a contender.
Reid Detmers struggles
Sadly, Weiss’ efforts came in a 4-2 loss to the Astros. This is because it was a more rough outing for Detmers, who gave up four runs on seven hits in 4.1 innings of work. Detmers was unsure why things went wrong for him, but all young starters are entitled to rough outings.