OAKLAND -- Dan Haren has watched Jered Weaver evolve professionally over the years, his appreciation of Weaver's craftsmanship increasing as they have bonded as Angels teammates since Haren's July 25 acquisition from the D-backs.
"What's impressed me about Weav is he's throwing 91, 92 [mph] and he has 200 strikeouts already," Haren said. "You look at a majority of guys at the top of the strikeout list, they're throwing 95 like Felix [Hernandez]. Weav's got a tremendous changeup, curveball, slider. It's been fun to watch him."
There are distinct physical and stylistic similarities between the strapping Southern California natives who refined their skills as collegians -- Haren at Pepperdine, Weaver at Long Beach State. Both have deceptive deliveries that serve to disrupt hitters' timing, Haren with his hesitation mid-delivery, Weaver with his sweeping arm action across his body.
Weaver, tied with Seattle's Hernandez for the Major League strikeout lead with 200 in 182 innings pitched, draws another ace in the Athletics' Trevor Cahill in Saturday's matinee at Oakland-Alameda Coliseum. Haren, who knows the turf, will be watching with interest.
In his early breakout years with the A's after he was acquired from the Cardinals, Haren brought serious heat in the Hernandez class. But he's down in Weaver's velocity range now, the low 90s, and showing he can thrive with variety, precision and intelligence.
"I'm a different pitcher," Haren said. "In Oakland, I didn't have a cut fastball. My split is different. Everyone has to change their style at some point. I have some tread on my tires. But I keep myself in good shape."
The Angels figure to be in good shape down the road with Weaver and Haren fronting their rotation.