Reporting from Chicago
Once upon a time, the Braves had a pitching staff made up of All-Stars Johnny Sain and Warren Spahn and not much else — a rotation immortalized in the ditty "Spahn and Sain and pray for rain."
"Let me think about that," Haren said with a smile Sunday after beating the Chicago White Sox, 4-2, for his fourth consecutive win. "I'll get back to you."
He might want to start by looking for a word that rhymes with "dominate," because that's what Haren and Weaver have done through their first eight starts, combining to go 8-0 with a 1.23 earned-run average and 58 strikeouts in 58 2/3 innings.
And even more important is that eight of the Angels' 10 wins have come in games in which either Haren or Weaver has pitched.
"No doubt Jered and Dan are setting the tone," Angels Manager Mike Scioscia said. "They're off to terrific starts."
Added teammate Torii Hunter: "You got a 1-2 punch like that, that kills all losing streaks. It's a lot of fun."
Just not for the other team. Consider what ran through Haren's mind when Chicago's Carlos Quentin doubled with one out in the seventh.
"I thought I hadn't had a guy on second base in a while. And then there was a guy on second base,' he said.
Clearly, Haren has a memory as good as his arm because the seventh inning Sunday marked just the second time in five games he has allowed two runners to reach base in the same inning. And when the White Sox pushed across a pair of runs later in the inning, it not only snapped Haren's streak of scoreless innings at 18 2/3, but it marked the first time in which he's allowed multiple runs in a game this season, sending his ERA ballooning to 1.16.
But numbers — even really impressive ones — are just part of the story, Scioscia said.
"I don't think you need numbers to see how well Dan's been pitching," he said. "This guy's been very, very consistent."
As has the Angels' offense, which scored exactly four runs for the third time in four tries Sunday, running the team's winning streak to five games.
Maicer Izturis, who had three hits for the third straight game, doubled and scored in each of his first two at-bats. Mark Trumbo's two-out home run into the Angels' bullpen extended the advantage to 3-0 in the fourth and two innings later Vernon Wells tripled off the top of the center-field wall, then scored on Alberto Callaspo's single.
Haren, meanwhile, allowed just three singles, retiring nine in a row at one point, before tiring in the seventh. A quartet of relievers took it from there, with a shaky Jordan Walden stranding three runners in the ninth to pick up his third save.
Afterward, catcher Jeff Mathis was asked whether he's ever worked with a pair of pitchers as dominant as Haren and Weaver.
"If I have, I couldn't recall it," he said. "It's awesome. You've got two guys that think they are No. 1s or whatever you want to call it.
"That 1-2 punch is pretty special."