Los Angeles Angels right-hander Jered Weaver can probably start clearing a space on his mantel for the AL Cy Young Award he fell short of last season.
Weaver finished second to Justin Verlander in the voting last season, but he looks like a runaway leader after running his record to 15-1 with a four-hit shutout of the Oakland A's in a 4-0 win Monday. Weaver has won his past nine starts, and he's won 10 consecutive decisions while compiling a 1.60 ERA in 12 starts since his only loss of the season (May 13 in Texas).
Most important for the Angels, they have won 17 of his 20 starts this season.
"You always want that lead dog, and Weave is that lead dog for us," manager Mike Scioscia said. "An important part of a staff is that one guy you know is going to keep a winning streak going or break a losing streak. Certainly Jered is that guy. But there's not going to be much consolation in a pitching staff when you have a guy throwing it like Weave is and we're not backing it up with the other four guys giving us a chance to win."
The Angels have struggled with that recently. The rotation is in a five-week slump, with Weaver the only consistent piece. His shutout Monday was only the 13th time in the past 35 games an Angels starter has retired a batter in the seventh inning.
The bullpen also has been a major issue on the current road trip. Angels relievers blew three saves and took four losses in the five games before Weaver's shutout. They got the night off Monday.
"Great time for a game like that any time from Weave. But to get it after what we've been through this week with our bullpen gives us a big lift," Scioscia said.
Weaver leads the majors in wins (15), ERA (2.13) and walks plus hits per inning pitched (0.92).