Starting pitcher Jason Vargas of the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim has been voted American League Pitcher of the Month for May. This is the first monthly pitching honor for the Angels since Jered Weaver won in April 2011.
Vargas compiled a perfect 5-0 record with a 2.30 ERA, one shutout, 31 strikeouts and 14 walks in 43.0 innings pitched over six starts to garner his second career Pitcher of the Month Award, last winning in July 2012 with the Seattle Mariners. Among qualifying starters in the A.L. with a minimum of 27.0 innings pitched, Jason finished first in wins and was second in innings pitched and ERA. Opponents batted just .206 against the left-hander, the eighth-best mark for a starting pitcher in the league.
In his opening start of the month on May 3rd, the 30-year-old scattered three hits and struck out three as Vargas hurled a complete-game shutout over the Baltimore Orioles, 4-0, at Angel Stadium for his first win of the year. The 107-pitch gem was Jason's fourth career shutout and his first since the 2011 season, and he became the first Angels pitcher since Ervin Santana in 2005 to earn his first win with the Club with a complete-game shutout. It was the second straight start in which Vargas went the distance, losing an 8.0-inning complete game effort, 2-1, on April 28th in Seattle. On May 14th, the Apple Valley, California native allowed two runs on five hits and struck out seven to lead the Halos to a 6-2 win over the Kansas City Royals in Anaheim. The win halted a brief two-game slide for the Angels. Vargas, a Long Beach State University product who was a collegiate teammate of fellow Angel Jered Weaver, kept his winning ways going in his next start on May 19th against the Chicago White Sox, firing 7.0 shutout innings of four-hit ball with six strikeouts as the Angels defeated the visiting White Sox, 6-2. On May 24th, the second round pick in the 2004 First-Year Player Draft (by the Florida Marlins) allowed two runs on five hits with a pair of strikeouts over 7.1 innings pitched to guide the Angels to a 5-2 victory over the Kansas City Royals at Kauffman Stadium. It was the Angels' sixth straight win in an eventual season-high eight-game winning streak from May 18th-26th. In a Freeway Series matchup with the Los Angeles Dodgers on May 30th, Vargas notched his latest quality start, a two-run, five-hit effort over 7.0 innings with six strikeouts as the Angels edged the Dodgers, 3-2, in Anaheim. With the win, Vargas became just the sixth Angels pitcher to earn five victories in the month of May and the first since Shawn Boskie in 1996.
Others receiving votes included Chris Sale (3-0, 0.87 ERA, 1 SHO, 31.0 IP, 5 BB, 31 SO) of the Chicago White Sox; Max Scherzer (4-0, 3.00 ERA, 45.0 IP, 45 SO) of the Detroit Tigers; Derek Holland (4-0, 2.31 ERA, 39.0 IP, 44 SO) of the Texas Rangers; Hisashi Iwakuma (4-0, 2.53 ERA, 42.2 IP, 37 SO) of the Seattle Mariners; Grant Balfour (11 G, 0.87 ERA, 9 SV, 15 SO) of the Oakland Athletics; Justin Masterson (4-1, 3.02 ERA, 1 SHO, 41.2 IP, 44 SO) of the Cleveland Indians; and Clay Buchholz (2-0, 2.31 ERA, 5 G, 35.0 IP, 34 SO) of the Boston Red Sox.
The American League Pitcher of the Month, Jason Vargas, will receive a specially designed trophy, suitably engraved, for his accomplishment.