Jered Weaver‘s Final Line: 9 IP 7 H 0 R 0 ER 1 BB 10 K 1 GB/FB Ratio

Jered Weaver continued his dominant 2011 campaign with his second consecutive complete game and his first shutout of the season against the struggling Oakland A’s lineup. Weaver lowered his ERA to 0.99, and he has struck out 49 batters in 45.2 innings this season.

Weaver had excellent command last night, throwing 78 strikes out of 114 pitches (a 68 percent strike rate). Most importantly, he threw 75 percent of his offspeed pitches for a strike, including all 20 changeups for a strike and eight out of 10 curveballs for a strike. He also established a first-pitch strike to 65 percent of the hitters faced.

Weaver continued to show a slight increase in velocity. He was averaging 90.2 mph on his fastball coming into the start against the A’s compared to his average of 89.9 mph last season. Last night he averaged 90.8 mph on his fastball while maxing out at 93.7 mph a few times early in the start. He recorded four swinging strikes out of 61 fastballs, and he recorded six of his strikeouts with the pitch.

Weaver recorded a swinging strike percentage of 10 percent overall, and his slider induced five swings and misses with three strikeouts. His changeup induced three swings and misses with one strikeout.

Weaver worked into and out of trouble in the later innings, but his ability to consistently throw strikes and allow only one extra-base hit kept the A’s off the scoreboard. His early-season success has not come from any change in approach. The batted ball numbers are not drastically different from last season, but his strand rate currently sits at 90 percent, and he has benefited from a low .220 BABIP. Even with those numbers, his xFIP sits at 2.97.

The rest of the American League should be wary of the combination of Weaver and Dan Haren, but I still don’t think the Angels have enough in the bullpen and on offense to win this division. However, they will be in contention if both of their front-line starters keep pitching at this level, and Weaver is the early front-runner to be the AL Cy Young winner in 2011.

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