There's the Rays' David Price, 19-5 with a 2.56 ERA. There's the White Sox Chris Sale, 17-7 with a 2.86 ERA. There's the Tigers' Justin Verlander, 16-8 with a 2.72 ERA. There's the Mariners' Felix Hernandez, 13-8 with a 2.91 ERA heading into Wednesday's start. And, of course, there's the Angels' Jered Weaver, 19-4 with a 2.74 ERA.
Mike Scioscia believes Weaver, who finished second to Verlander in AL Cy Young voting last year, deserves as much consideration as anybody for the hardware.
"There's no doubt he's in the middle of the conversation," the Angels skipper said. "I don't think there's anyone who can deny that. I think Weave has meant more to our team than probably any pitcher in the staff, just for the fact that for us to even be talking about a pennant race, he had to step up and do what he can do because for a while, he was a lone soldier out there, start after start, when the rest of our rotation was trying to find itself for what seemed like an eternity."
On Weaver's side is the fact that he leads the Majors with a 1.00 WHIP, which many consider the truest measure of a pitcher's effectiveness. What may hurt him is the fact he's tied for 22nd in the AL in innings, at 180 2/3, because he missed time on the disabled list with a back injury and skipped a start due to biceps tendinitis.
Despite that, Weaver, likely to get two more regular-season starts, has a chance to reach 20 wins for the first time in his seven-year career.
"There's no doubt he's put himself into a position for a lot of individual awards and honors, but more importantly than that, he's kept us in a position for us to reach our goal," Scioscia said. "Maybe the one thing a starting pitcher cannot control is really a win or a loss, but he's pitched well enough and deep enough on a consistent basis to have a chance to win 20, and that says a lot for how consistent he's been."