Riding Jered Weaver


The Los Angeles Angels can see a lot farther when they're standing on Jered Weaver's shoulders.

He is, after all, 6-foot-7.

But as ace-like as his performance has been in this historic month-long rocket ride, it doesn't feel all that novel or revolutionary in the Angels' clubhouse. Even while Weaver was struggling to break the .500 mark last season, the Angels started getting an inkling of what he could do with a little more run support and an athletic outfield behind him.

Voila, the Angels have been scoring -- three early runs against Oakland's tough lefty Gio Gonzalez on Monday, for example -- and catching balls hit in the air. So, they've helped produce a pitcher who is 6-0 and could get one more start to become the first pitcher in baseball history to win seven games by the end of April.

Weaver didn't show flashes of this last year, he showed this -- just a little bit less of it and to far less effect.

"I mean, he's on a great roll, but I'll tell you, I think he threw the ball as consistently at times last year as we've seen him do this year," Angels manager Mike Scioscia said.

Second baseman Howie Kendrick has been playing behind Weaver since before anyone had heard of either one of them. They were minor league teammates in the Angels' organization and Kendrick doesn't see a shocking improvement in Weaver's abilities this season. Then again, he's not complaining about a pitcher who has won 46 percent of his team's games and just pitched a complete-game shutout that snapped the Angels' four-game losing streak.

"I think he pitches just as well every year," Kendrick said. "He's always been the same guy, same mentality, he's going to attack the strike zone, throws everything for strikes, uses everything he has. I love him being on the mound when I'm playing behind him."

For his part, Weaver said he is locating the ball better than ever in his career. That's one difference. Other than that, his arsenal is largely the same. He isn't throwing the ball harder or getting more break on his slider. He has always been deceptive and still is, five years into his major-league career.

He looks like he's on a collision course to start the All-Star game, but he also learned how quickly this game can humble you when he followed a brilliant rookie season by going 11-10 with a 4.33 ERA in 2008. Weaver's brilliant outing quickly erased the Angels' embarrassment from a weekend series against the Boston Red Sox in which they were outscored 20-5.

Isn't that what a No. 1 pitcher is supposed to do?

"Obviously, all the accolades are nice, but the team's the most important thing," Weaver said. "It's good to get off to a good start, but we need to keep this thing going."

Here are the pitchers with 6+ wins by the end of April since 1900:

2011 Jered Weaver, Angels 6-0

2008 Brandon Webb, Arizona 6-0

2002 Randy Johnson, Arizona 6-0

2000 Randy Johnson, Arizona 6-0

1988 Dave Stewart, Oakland 6-0

1971 Vida Blue, Oakland 6-1