Jered Weaver has won each of his last nine starts, one short of a team record. (Thearon W. Henderson / Getty…)
There's a unique vibe to a Jered Weaver start, something his teammates notice.
"There's no stress about it," outfielder Torii Hunter said.
Weaver has won each of his last nine starts, one short of the team record held by Chuck Finley.
Sunday afternoon, Weaver takes the Angels Stadium mound against fellow Long Beach State product Jason Vargas (12-8, 3.69 earned-run average) of the Seattle Mariners.
Weaver routinely downplays individual accolades, but he's compiling a remarkable season, leading the American League in wins and ERA (15-1, 2.13 ERA), with his home ERA at 0.92.
"His main focus is on the team, thinking that what he accomplishes will help the team win," Angels pitching coach Mike Butcher said.
Yet, individual glory is clearly in sight as Weaver charges toward a first American League Cy Young Award after finishing runner-up to Detroit's Justin Verlander last season.
This time, Weaver has a May 2 no-hitter to enhance his argument.
He has a soft spot for visiting Seattle. He's 7-0 against the Mariners in Anaheim with a career 1.78 ERA.
"When he hasn't had his best stuff, he grinds it out," Angels Manager Mike Scioscia said. "When he does, he rides it out real well."
Scioscia said the difference between a young Weaver and this 29-year-old version is his pitch efficiency and his ability to maintain quality “stuff” over a game and through the season.
He produced 15 consecutive quality starts through the heart of last year, and has given up two earned runs or less in 11 of his last 12 starts this time.
"He has deception in his delivery and he commands the baseball so well," Butcher said. "He can throw any pitch in any count, and has a remarkable feel for what he has to do because of his evaluation of hitters.
"A tremendous feel for the game."
The routine of a Weaver start delivers an unmistakable confidence, Hunter said.
"There's automatic adrenaline, and if we get four of five runs, he'll take care of that," Hunter said. "What I see is his focus. He's done well in the past, but hitting his spots, using all his pitches … he's to the point where he's the veteran guy who wants -- and just knows how -- to win."
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