CLEVELAND -- Manny Acta is an unabashed admirer of the Angels' rotation. The Cleveland manager was not especially looking forward to seeing Jered Weaver, a leading Cy Young Award candidate, follow a dominant Dan Haren to the mound on Tuesday night at Progressive Field.
"I can show you the stats," Acta was saying late on Monday night after Haren had held the Tribe to a run on three hits across 7 2/3 innings of a game Cleveland claimed with a ninth-inning rally. "He does this just about every five days against everybody. And the guy [Tuesday] is not a picnic, either."
Haren threw a one-hit shutout against the Indians in April. Combined, Weaver and Haren are 23-10. Weaver's ERA was an MLB-best 1.81 heading into Tuesday night's game, with Haren at 3.01.
"Those two guys, that ballclub, that's the reason why they're so good and they're always in it," Acta said. "They have two No. 1 guys on their staff. That really stops teams from getting on any type of long losing streaks and gives them a chance to win at least twice a week every time those guys go out there. And the rest of their rotation is really good, too."
Haren's return to form after struggling with some back pain was a big shot in the arms race for the Angels. His 10 strikeouts reflected a blend of stuff and command that had been missing of late as Haren internally dealt with the back issue, never mentioning it.
Weaver and Haren have been as good as any tandem in the game, and if Ervin Santana builds on recent efforts and regains prime form, it's three aces in manager Mike Scioscia's hand. Joel Pineiro and Tyler Chatwood have been up and down at the back of the rotation but both have the ability to deliver big performances down the stretch.