ANAHEIM — The Angels’ Jered Weaver ran into Jason Vargas of the Royals on Wednesday afternoon in the basement of Angel Stadium.
“I didn’t know if I was supposed to give him a hug and say hi or not,” said Weaver, who will start for the Angels against Vargas in Game 1 of the American League Division Series on Thursday.
It was more than just a chance meeting of two opposing pitchers. Weaver and Vargas are close friends, and not just because they were teammates with the Angels last season: They were teammates on a 2004 Long Beach State squad that also featured Troy Tulowitzki and advanced to the NCAA Super Regionals.
Now they Whitney Mercilus Football Uniforms will face off on the big stage.
“We go back a while,” Vargas said. “To be able to toe the same slab in the playoffs, I know is pretty cool for a lot of other people than just us. I’m looking forward to it.”
He should be. Weaver brings out the best in Whitney Mercilus Jersey for Sale him. The two have faced each other as starters three times in their careers, and each time, Vargas has been outstanding.
The last time they faced off was on Aug. 12, 2012, in Anaheim. Vargas, then with the Mariners, allowed one run in eight innings in a 4-1 victory.
They also had a tremendous pitching duel on Aug. 11, 2011. Vargas did not allow a run in six innings, and Weaver was scoreless over nine in a game won by the Angels, 1-0, in 10 innings. On May 18, 2011, Vargas pitched seven scoreless innings in a 3-0 win over Weaver and the Angels.
Whatever happens, they will have plenty of time to talk about it this winter, as the two have planned a vacation together.
“He’s one of my best friends,” Weaver said. “We formed a really cool and special bond at Long Beach. It didn’t take us long to become friends. He’s a mellow guy off the field. I feel like I’m a mellow guy off the field. But once we get on the field, we’re competitors, and we want to win. I think that’s shown throughout our careers; that when we do get on the mound, it’s all about winning.
“He’s one of those special guys that comes into your life, and I don’t really talk to too many people that you come in contact with away from playing baseball. You kind of lose relationships and things of that nature, but that’s one relationship that I’ve held on to through the years. It’s nice to be able to call him and talk to him.”
Both are from Southern California. Vargas pitched at Apple Valley High in San Bernardino County, east of Los Angeles. He started Whitney Mercilus Merchandise at LSU, transferred to junior college after one season and then ended up at Long Beach State for his junior year.
Weaver is from Simi Valley, north of Los Angeles. He went to Long Beach State for three years and was the 2004 National College Player of the Year after posting a 15-1 record to go with a 1.63 ERA and 213 strikeouts in 144 innings. He was the 12th overall pick in the First-Year Player Draft that June, by the Angels.
Vargas, who also starred at the plate at LBSU (.354 batting average in 2004), didn’t go until the second round, to the Marlins. The Royals are his fifth franchise, but he did get to play with Weaver for one season, in 2013, with the Angels.
“Well, he Whitney Mercilus Texans Jersey really didn’t change much til now,” Vargas said. “The competitiveness has always been there. It’s always been the Whitney Mercilus Jersey same raw emotion on the mound, and off the mound, it’s a different person. He’s a really easygoing, easy guy to be a friend with. So he’s a tough competitor out there on the mound, and we better be ready.”
Angels: Overwhelming advantage in playoff experience
The Angels may not have been in the playoffs since 2009, but their players have a combined 253 games in the postseason. The Royals have just 110 combined games of postseason experience. That includes 17 players who made their postseason debut on Tuesday night in the Wild Card playoff win over the Athletics.
Two members of the Royals have combined for 75 of those 110 games. Raul Ibanez, who did not play on Tuesday night, has appeared in 44 games (with the Mariners, Phillies and Yankees), and second baseman Omar Infante has played in 31 games (Tigers and Braves).
The Angels’ postseason experience comes from their former Cardinals and Rangers. First baseman Albert Pujols played in 74 playoff games, third baseman David Freese played in 48 and reliever Fernando Salas appeared in 16 games during their time with the Cardinals. Outfielder Josh Hamilton played in 34 postseason games with the Rangers, and C.J. Wilson pitched in 10.
Royals: Yost shrugs off criticism
The Royals rallied twice to beat the Athletics in the Wild Card Game, but that didn’t keep manager Ned Yost from being criticized for his managing — most specifically, when he brought in rookie Yordano Ventura to replace James Shields in the sixth inning.
“Look, I’ve been criticized my whole career, right?” Yost said. “There is so much as a coaching staff and a manager that we know that they don’t know. I’m not talking about the player, I’m talking about situations, I’m talking about internal things that go on our team that help us make decisions that factor into our decisions that nobody knows. What they do is, they take something that they can Whitney Mercilus Jersey Cheap jump on and then jump on it and bark about it, and that’s fine. That’s the way it is, and that’s the way it’s kind of supposed to be.
“If the manager puts in a player and he gives up a three-run homer, it’s the manager’s fault. I put him in. It’s something that we all deal with every day, and it doesn’t really bother us too much.”
• Angels outfielder Josh Hamilton, who will be in the lineup on Thursday, is 6-for-27 with three career home runs off Vargas. He is one of two left-handed hitters with three home runs off Vargas. The other is Hideki Matsui.
• Ibanez has four home runs off Weaver. The only players with more are Alex Rodriguez and Curtis Granderson (five).
• The two teams split six games during the regular season, with each team winning two of three at home.