ANAHEIM, Calif. - Jeff Weaver would often get annoyed with his little brother, Jered, when the two were growing up.
“Sometimes it felt like he was tagging along a little too much,” Jeff said with a wry grin.
So when he was bumped out of the majors by Jered a few years ago, Jeff hardly imagined it would come to this — a chance they’d share the mound, on opposite teams.
Barring some pickup basketball and a pingpong game, the two have never faced each other in game that actually matters, records-wise.
The duel between Jeff and Jered Weaver in Saturday night’s game between the Los Angeles Dodgers and Los Angeles Angels will mark their first matchup, and the 21st time in big league history that siblings have started against each other.
“We’ve talked about it for a long time,” Jeff said. “Baseball works in weird ways. To be in a relief/starting role, and for it to line up in this particular fashion, it seems like it’s kind of meant to be. So we’re going to have fun with it, see what happens, and hopefully we’ll both come out of there feeling good about what we’ve done.”
The brothers grew up in Simi Valley, about 60 miles northwest of Angel Stadium.
They were never really competitive with each other growing up, simply because of the six-year age difference. Jeff always did things first: He played baseball in college, got drafted first, and won a World Series title first.
On Friday, before the Angels and Dodgers began their three-game series, he let Jered walk in before him and gave him the table to talk first.
“Go for it,” he nodded to Jered.
Jeff wasn’t so nice growing up.
“I was kind of the bully-older brother growing up,” Jeff said. “Now we’re each other’s biggest fans.”
Jered is excited about the matchup.
“I’m looking forward to it. It should be fun,” he said.
Plenty of friends figure to be in attendance Saturday — the brothers are estimating 25 to 30. The evening, however, may not be so festive for their parents. Gail and Dave Weaver are skipping out on a family wedding to watch their two sons face each other.
So who will they be cheering for? Who knows — the parents declined to be interviewed.
“I won’t know until I see them afterwards,” Jeff said. “But I think once they get there and situated, it’ll be something special for them to be able to be there. I don’t know how my dad’s going to handle it, because he always said he’d rather just stay home and watch it. But he’s going to be there. Maybe he’ll have to rotate hats along the way.”
Jered has a different opinion.
“I think they will root for Jeff, they did love him a lot growing up. So I would say the upper hand is on Jeff’s side,” he said.
Alan Benes and Andy Benes were the last brothers to pitch against each other in 2002.
Some past notable matchups include:
Jeff Weaver, a walk-on from Fresno State, was in the Angels’ starting rotation when he was sent to the minors by manager Mike Scioscia in June 2006, a move that cleared a roster spot for his brother. Jered, who was drafted by the Angels in 2004 out of Long Beach State, came up from Triple-A and went 11-2 that year.
This season, the 26-year-old Jered is 7-2 with a 2.08 ERA for the defending AL West champion Angels.
The 32-year-old Jeff is 3-1 with a 3.72 ERA for the NL West-leading Dodgers. He wound up with a World Series ring with St. Louis in 2006, pitching eight masterful innings to clinch the title in Game 5 against Detroit.
After stints with Seattle — he struggled with a 7-13 record and 6.20 ERA — and a yearlong hiatus in the minors, he signed a minor league deal with the Dodgers in February.
He was expected to compete for a bullpen spot, but has made three starts this season. On Saturday, he will be filling in for an injured Eric Milton.
“After what I’ve gone through over the past year or so, getting that first start back at Dodger Stadium was pretty special in itself. But to be able to do something like this in the same year, when you didn’t know if it was ever going to come to fruition, it’s pretty cool,” he said.
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