Weaver making his case for Cy Young Award
ANAHEIM, Calif. — With so much attention focused on the Mike Trout-Miguel Cabrera debate for American League MVP, the race for the league's Cy Young Award has gone almost unnoticed. But Angels right-hander Jered Weaver could establish himself as a favorite when he goes for his 20th win Friday night in Texas.
Weaver's numbers are undeniably Cy Young-worthy, but unlike last season — when Detroit Tigers right-hander Justin Verlander was the unanimous winner of the Cy Young (and took home MVP, to boot) — there are plenty of contenders for the award this year.
"There's no doubt he's right in the middle of the conversation," Angels manager Mike Scioscia said. "I don't think there's anybody who can deny that.
"Weav has meant more to our team than probably any pitcher on any 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 could do. 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."
Even so, voters will have to choose from a group that includes Weaver, Verlander, Tampa Bay's David Price and Fernando Rodney, Seattle's Felix Hernandez and the Chicago White Sox' Chris Sale.
Entering Thursday night's game, Weaver and Price were tied for the league lead in victories, but Price tops the AL in ERA (2.56, to Weaver's 2.74, third in the league). Verlander leads in innings pitched (231-1/3) and strikeouts (231), Rodney has 45 saves in 47 chances and a miniscule 0.77 ERA, and Hernandez has five shutouts and threw a perfect game in August. Sale is 17-7 after converting from reliever to starter.
Weaver, however, has league-best numbers in two important categories: a .213 opponents' batting average and a 1.00 WHIP (walks and hits per inning). He threw a no-hitter in May against the Minnesota Twins and had a 10-game winning streak from May 18 to Aug. 6.
To win 20, he said, "A lot of things have to go your way. You've got to have timely hitting, great defense, and you've got to have some balls from your standpoint hit at your defenders. It's a tough thing to do, but you've got to have a lot of luck on your side as well."
With his team still chasing a wild-card spot in the AL, Weaver insisted he's not thinking about winning the Cy Young. That's understandable.
"I don't really care about personal accolades, so I don't really care about having 19 wins or having 30 wins," he said. "If we don't make the playoffs, it doesn't matter. I just want to win a ring."
It's worth noting that no team has ever had the Cy Young, MVP and Rookie of the Year winners in the same season. Weaver and Trout could change that.