Luke Weaver has struggled in 2018. After his success in 2017, winning seven straight decisions at one point, a lot of people thought he would be a staple in this year’s rotation. John Mozeliak included. However, since mid-April, he’s felt more like a liability most of the time.
In his first three starts of the year, Luke Weaver pitched very well. He went five innings the first outing, six innings the next and 6.1 in the third, allowing no more than two runs in any one start.
On April 18 he was 2-0 with a 2.08 ERA. It looked like he was going to continue what he did last season and lock down a spot in the rotation. That’s when things came unraveled.
In his next start on April 19, he allowed six earned runs in just four innings pitched to the Chicago Cubs. It was his first loss of the season and his ERA skyrocketed to 4.22. Fortunately for Weaver and the Cardinals, it was just one start and it was still early in the year.
However, things didn’t get any better. In his next three starts, Weaver allowed four runs in no more than 5.1 innings. In those three games he allowed 14 hits and nine walks over just 14 innings.
Signs of Hope
Going into his May 11 start, Weaver had a 2-2 record and a 5.60 ERA. He was on his way to pitching himself out of the rotation and maybe even earning a trip to Memphis.
However, in that May 11 game, he took a big step back in the right direction. Albeit, at the hands of the San Diego Padres, Weaver went five innings without allowing a run, earning his third win of the season. In his next two starts, he went seven innings both times, allowing just one run to the Phillies and three to the Royals.
Despite getting losses in both those games, Weaver looked like he had things under control. He had dropped his season ERA back down to 4.31 and struck out 18 batters over those three starts.
Weaver’s next start against Milwaukee was a short one. He threw 76 pitches over just four innings, though he only allowed two runs. It wasn’t a good outing, but it could’ve been much worse against a very good Brewers team.
As the calendar flipped to June, Weaver was carrying a 3-5 record and a 4.32 ERA. He was on a good roll though, all things considered, and saved his starting spot for at least the immediate future.
His first June start was another good one. It wasn’t anything special, but it was solid. He went five innings against the Pirates and only allowed one run. Weaver’s ERA dropped to 4.12 and though he got a no-decision, the Cardinals did go on to win the game.
Since that start though, its been pretty much all downhill, with the exception of one start. He allowed four runs in each of his next three starts and only pitched into the sixth once. The other two times he came out after the fifth inning.
In his next time out Weaver went five and two-thirds against the Brewers. It took him 104 pitches, but he allowed just two runs, struck out nine and picked up the win. His ERA came back down to 4.59, but he couldn’t gain any momentum from the start.
Weaver’s next start, his most recent, was abysmal. It took him 91 pitches to get through 4.2 innings. He gave up eight earned runs on ten hits and two home runs before being pulled from the game. His ERA jumped back up to 5.16, where it stands today, and he went to 4-7 on the year.
San Francisco Tonight
Weaver gets his 18th start tonight against the San Francisco Giants. It will be a good chance for him to get going in the right direction again.
The Giants are in a similar boat with the Cardinals this season. Like St. Louis, they are hovering right around .500 and their offense has been less than impressive.
Weaver has two starts against San Fran in his short career. He’s thrown 9.2 innings over the two outings, allowed just two runs and struck out 13, for a 1-1 record and a 1.86 ERA.
The Redbirds will need him tonight, as the Giants are leaning on Johnny Cueto to shut them down. Cueto has made five starts this season. He is 3-0 with a 0.86 ERA over 32 innings in those five starts. In his ten year career, Cueto has 23 starts against St. Louis, in which he is 7-8 with a 3.74.
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