Angels rearrange starting rotation

ANAHEIM, Calif. -- After being eliminated from playoff competition with Monday night's loss to the Texas Rangers, the Los Angeles Angels pulled two of their best starting pitchers, a move that might impact the American League playoffs.

The Angels scratched Jered Weaver and Ervin Santana, a decision that also means Detroit's Justin Verlander likely will win the AL's pitching triple crown.

Rookie Tyler Chatwood started Tuesday and fellow rookie Garrett Richards will take the mound Wednesday.

The Rangers are one game ahead of the Detroit Tigers for the second-best record in the American League. The team that finishes with a better record will host the AL wild-card team while the other team has to travel to play the New York Yankees.

Santana (11-12, 3.38 ERA) and Weaver (18-8, 2.41) already have surpassed their career highs for innings pitched. However, if Weaver doesn't pitch Wednesday, he loses his chance to win the league ERA title. Weaver would need to pitch 1 1/3 innings of scoreless baseball to finish with a 2.39 ERA, edging out Verlander, who made his final start of the season Saturday.

"Obviously, there is a little something out there, but I'm not into the individual numbers out there. It's a team game," Weaver said. "The only way I would have maybe gone out there is if I was sitting on 19 (wins) just to ... try to get to 20. That would have been kind of cool."

Angels manager Mike Scioscia claimed he wasn't aware Weaver's 2.41 ERA is right behind Verlander's AL-leading 2.40. Verlander already leads the league with 24 victories and 250 strikeouts.

"(Weaver) has pitched extremely well this year, but it comes to a point where I think we'd be stretching him for really diminishing returns right now," Scioscia said. "We obviously have to look out for these guys moving forward, so that they'll be ready to do this again next year."

Scioscia said he also feels it's important to honor the integrity of the playoff races, but has to watch out for his players, too.

"We're going to try to go out there and win," he said. "There are tons of times during a season where a guy misses a start or is pushed back for a variety of reasons. This is one of those times. If we had maybe 10 more games left, you might see these guys pitch later in the week, but right now they're really on fumes and need to just take a backseat."

Weaver, who also started the All-Star Game, earned a new five-year, $85 million contract last month, cementing his role as the ace of the Angels' staff alongside Dan Haren and Santana. But Weaver lost his final start of the season, failing to beat the lowly Oakland Athletics last Friday in a key game for Los Angeles' playoff hopes.

Weaver said he didn't know whether his contract contained a bonus for winning the ERA title.

"(Verlander) has had a fantastic year," Weaver said. "He's had a lot of support over there, and he's done great. So to lose it to a guy like that, I guess, I can tip my cap."

Mark Saxon covers the Angels for ESPNLosAngeles.com. Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.