Why the Angels always have a chance

April, 6, 2011
In the first week of this season, a friendly little competition appears to be heating up between Jered Weaver and Dan Haren.

The two are in lock-step through their first two starts of the season. Weaver is 2-0 with a 0.69 ERA. Haren is 1-0 with a 1.23 ERA.

Weaver has struck out 12 batters in 13 innings. After Wednesday's 5-1 win at Tropicana Field, Haren has struck out 12 batters in 14 2/3 innings.

Weaver has been slightly more dominant. Haren has given the Angels a bit more length. They've both been as efficient as machines, dispatching the first two lineups they've seen in assembly-line fashion. If those two keep this up, it would be foolish to count the Angels out. Two starting pitchers can pull a team a long way, even when they're hauling the rest of the team's baggage.

The Angels' issues -- which looked so worrisome after four games in Kansas City -- found quick answers in two games against an ice cold Tampa Bay team. One switch, Fernando Rodney for Jordan Walden at closer, fixed a bunch of stuff by itself. Since being named closer, Walden has gotten six outs without allowing a base runner.

Combine a shored-up back end of the bullpen with dominant starting pitching and the Angels' template for 2011 is beginning to show through.

Since last Aug. 29, Angels starters have a 2.75 ERA -- and that's with fifth starter Scott Kazmir dragging down the numbers. The only team in baseball that has been more dominant in that span is the San Francisco Giants, whose starters have a 2.38 ERA.

How'd that work out for them?

Mark Saxon

Mark Saxon is a staff writer for ESPNLosAngeles.com. He spent six years at the Orange County Register, and began his career at the Oakland Tribune, where he started an 11-year journey covering Major League Baseball. He has also covered colleges, including USC football and UCLA basketball.



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Jered Weaver
18 3.59 169 213
BAH. Kendrick .293
HRM. Trout 36
RBIM. Trout 111
RM. Trout 115
OPSM. Trout .939
ERAG. Richards 2.61
SOJ. Weaver 169