Jered Weaver has spent the last 7 1/2 weeks polishing a sterling Cy Young Award resume. The dominance he's displayed has looked an awful lot like the hurting he's been putting on the Seattle Mariners for several seasons.
Weaver looks to match a Los Angeles Angels franchise record by winning his 10th straight start Sunday and continuing his mastery over the Mariners.
With a 7-4 defeat Saturday, the Angels (60-54) lost for the seventh time in 10 games this month and dropped seven games behind AL West-leading Texas. Albert Pujols is mired in a 1-for-22 slump, while Mark Trumbo is hitting .140 with 17 strikeouts in his last 11 games.
Dan Haren was roughed up for seven runs in 3 1-3 innings Saturday, yet Los Angeles saw its staff ERA for August drop to a ghastly 6.67. That mark would be even worse had Weaver (15-1, 2.13 ERA) not tossed a four-hitter in his lone start of the month, Monday's 4-0 win over Oakland.
The Angels have won Weaver's last 12 starts with the right-hander getting the decision 10 times. He's posted a 1.60 ERA while winning his last nine outings, putting him within one of matching Chuck Finley's franchise record of winning 10 straight starts from July 1-Aug. 15, 1997.
"There's really no answer,' Weaver said. "Things have been going my way.'
The major league ERA leader and AL wins leader also is 8-0 with a 0.92 ERA at home.
"You always want that lead dog,' Angels manager Mike Scioscia said. "And Weave is that lead dog.'
Seattle (52-63) had been lucky enough to avoid Weaver's turn in the rotation thus far in 2012.
Weaver has a 0.33 ERA in his last three starts against the Mariners - having gone nine innings in each - and is 6-1 with a 1.07 ERA in his last 10 games in the series with the Angels winning nine times. He is also 7-0 with a 1.78 ERA in 11 career starts against Seattle at Angel Stadium - all wins for Los Angeles.
Seattle's Jason Vargas (12-8, 3.69) has also been pitching quite well lately, albeit with considerably less fanfare.
The AL Pitcher of the Month for July, Vargas is 5-1 with a 1.99 ERA in his last eight outings. He had won five straight starts before being saddled with a 3-1, complete-game loss Monday against Baltimore. The left-hander allowed three runs - all in the second inning - and eight hits while walking none and going the distance for the second time in six starts.
"It says a great deal about him and how far he's come,' manager Eric Wedge said. "He had earned the right to stay out there. I wanted him to be out there. I trust him. He makes pitches and keeps the game right where it is."
Vargas, who has already established a new career high for victories, wasn't as sharp in his two starts against the Angels this year, going 1-1 with a 4.97 ERA. Several Angels have given him problems, with Pujols 6 for 12 with a homer and Mike Trout going 4 for 7 with a double.
Catcher John Jaso had a solo homer Saturday to help the Mariners snap a five-game losing streak. Jaso, who also hit a three-run shot Friday, is batting .475 with three homers and 13 RBIs in 11 career games at Angel Stadium, but is hitless in six career at_bats against Weaver.
The Associated Press News Service
The Associated Press
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