Reporting from Cleveland — Mike Scioscia caught some great pitchers in his playing days with the Dodgers.
Fernando Valenzuela. Orel Hershiser. Don Sutton.
And what he has seen from Jered Weaver this season is in the same class.
"Every number you look at with Weav has an exclamation point behind it," the Angels manager said. "He's just been terrific."
Just take a look.
By beating Cleveland, 2-1, on Tuesday, Weaver improved to 14-4 and dropped his earned-run average to a major league-leading 1.79. His last 13 outings have been quality starts and in his last 12 he is 8-0, giving up one run or fewer nine times.
If you're looking for some insight on how all that came to be, however, don't bother asking Weaver.
"I don't know, man," he said with a shrug. "I just go out there and do my job and see what happens in the end."
Tuesday that involved taking a shower.
After throwing 113 pitches in seven innings, Weaver turned a 2-1 lead over to the bullpen. But his work was not done because when reliever Scott Downs walked the first batter he faced in the eighth inning, Weaver sprang back into action.
"I was like 'I've got to change something up,' " said Weaver, who decided lathering up in the shower would help. "I knew that was going to work."
And as with most everything Weaver has tried this season, it did, with the next batter hitting into a double play.
Yet, for all of Weaver's impressive numbers, Cleveland's Josh Tomlin was actually the better pitcher for six innings Tuesday, holding the Angels to two hits before running into trouble in the seventh inning.
Bobby Abreu led off that inning with a single and moved to second base on Vernon Wells' nubber in front of the plate. An out later, Tomlin decided to use the open base for Howie Kendrick, intentionally walking him to get to rookie Mark Trumbo.
Asked whether the slight angered him, Trumbo, who had grounded to the mound in each of his two previous at-bats, thought about being diplomatic, but decided to be honest instead.
"I want to say no. But I think it kind of [did]," he said.
Tomlin had thrown Trumbo nothing but cutters and this time Trumbo caught up with one, hitting a two-strike pitch to the top of the wall in right-center field for a two-run double.
Matt LaPorta hit a home run against Weaver in the seventh inning and Cleveland threatened in the ninth, loading the bases against shaky closer Jordan Walden. But Kendrick made a good play on LaPorta's tricky grounder to start a double play, and Walden struck out Jason Kipnis to save the win for Weaver.
"Keep the game as simple as you can," Weaver, still struggling to explain his success, offered with a smile. "I just go out there and do my job and keep us in the game. And I've been lucky enough to be able to do that."