Big League Stew - MLB

We can probably count Jered Weaver(notes) among those glad that the baseball season started a week earlier this year.

Thanks to a dominating 5-0 complete-game win over the Oakland Athletics on Monday, the Los Angeles Angels ace became only the fifth pitcher in baseball history to record six wins before the calendar flipped to May. also notes that Weaver is the first pitcher to be 6-0 by April 25.

As we all know by now, wins aren't the best way to judge a pitcher. But six wins before May 1 put Weaver — who leads baseball with a 0.99 ERA and 49 strikeouts — in some good historical company. According to Mark Saxon of ESPN L.A., the other four pitchers with six April wins are Brandon Webb(notes) (2008), Randy Johnson(notes) ('02, '00), Dave Stewart (1988) and Vida Blue (1971). All but one of those seasons ended with the pitcher recording more than 20 wins (and even then, the 2000 version of Big Unit got to 19).

We should also point out that Weaver is more than just a recipient of good luck through scheduling quirks. Over at Baseball-Reference, Andy points out that only 11 other pitchers since 2001 have started with streaks of six or more wins without recording a loss or a no decision. Weaver himself won his first seven starts in 2006 while Webb is at the top of the list with nine straight wins to start 2008.

If Weaver makes a run at Webb's opening, it's likely we're going to keep hearing a few things. The first would be Weaver's escalating value for when he becomes a free agent after the 2012 season. (Yankees, anyone?)

The second would be his chances of becoming only the third Angels pitcher in history to win the Cy Young, joining Bartolo Colon(notes) in 2005 and Dean Chance in 1964.

And the third would be his shot at reaching 30 wins, which would remain a longshot. (When Webb reached 8-0 after eight starts in '08, his odds were still calculated at a miniscule 0.2 percent.)

But if Angels fans want to stay grounded in the here and now with some unbelievable and hopeful numbers, here are some from WiHaloFan at Halos Heaven:

93, 94, 91, 94, 93, 79, 92, 80, 76, 80.

Those numbers would be the speed of each third strike for each of his 10 punchouts, and it's a great sign that he's learning how to handle and harness his arm as the game goes on. At 28 years old, Weaver has clearly become the pitcher we've all been expecting him to be.

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