Jered Weaver is among the best pitchers in baseball, and he leaves little doubt of that status when he takes the mound at home for the Los Angeles Angels.
Weaver looks to continue his dazzling winning streak with another dominant performance against the Kansas City Royals in the finale of this three-game series Wednesday.Weaver (12-1, 2.20 ERA) is among the major league leaders in wins and ERA, and his 30 victories since the start of 2011 are second only to Detroit's Justin Verlander. He has won all six of his starts since returning from a stint on the disabled list June 20, posting a 1.51 ERA in that stretch.The right-hander, who finished second to Verlander in the AL Cy Young voting last year, is especially dominant at home, going 15-2 with a 1.46 ERA in 23 starts over the last two seasons. That includes a staggering 7-0 record and 0.67 ERA in eight games in 2012.Weaver has allowed one run in 21 innings while winning his last three home starts, including Friday's 6-1 victory over AL West-leading Texas."That's what an ace brings to the table every time he gets on the mound," catcher Bobby Wilson told the Angels' official website. "It's that competitive edge of, 'No matter what happens, I'm going to give everything I've got and I'm going to compete, and I'm going to make the pitches and come up clutch with some important pitches when we need it the most.'"Weaver's last five meetings with Kansas City (41-55) have ended in victories for Los Angeles, while he's 4-0 with a 0.50 ERA and 42 strikeouts in 36 1/3 innings.The ace fanned 10 Royals while yielding four hits in eight innings of a 5-0 home victory on opening day April 6.The Angels (53-45) could use another strong performance after losing 4-1 to Kansas City on Tuesday following a 6-3 victory to open this series the previous night.Mike Trout is looking to rebound after his 12-game hitting streak ended with an 0-for-3 performance Tuesday. The AL's leading hitter at .354, Trout failed to score a run for the first time in 16 games, ending a franchise-record streak.The Royals are trying to win back-to-back games for the first time since a season high-tying four-game winning streak June 25-29. They've dropped 16 of 22 since, including nine of 12 as the visitor.Luke Hochevar (6-8, 4.91) will take the mound, and he was solid in his only previous appearance in Anaheim on April 7. The right-hander tossed six scoreless innings before giving up two runs and getting pulled with one out in the seventh during a 6-3 victory.He had been 0-3 with an 8.02 ERA over his previous four starts against the Angels.Hochevar has been sharp recently, going 3-1 with a 2.50 ERA in his last six starts. He could have used some help from the lineup Friday, when he yielded one run in seven innings and retired the last 10 batters he faced in a 2-1, 11-inning loss to Minnesota."I'm just really encouraged with how he threw the ball," manager Ned Yost said. "He was mixing his curve and got a couple of outs with his slider, and he located his fastball well."Kansas City's Lorenzo Cain is hitting .390 with three homers and 13 RBIs in 12 games since returning from a groin injury that sidelined him for three months. He was 2 for 4 with a two-run homer Tuesday, but he's struck out in all three of his at-bats against Weaver.