Mike Scioscia trotted out a lineup tonight that was mocked upon it’s announcement, as it’s 7-8-9 hitters were a frightening three headed baseball gremlin consisting of Matt Joyce, Chris Iannetta and Marc Krauss. Not to mention they themselves followed David Freese, so you can see why many an eye were rolled this afternoon. The perhaps even bigger question mark on the day was starting pitcher Matt Shoemaker, who has struggled in spots this year and failed to be as sharp as the Shoemaker we saw in his rookie season. The crazy thing? Any and all qualms with the game were completely laid to waste, as Shoemaker returned to 2014 form and the bottom of the order black hole became clutch when needed.
Matt Shoemaker was on point for all seven innings pitched, save for one mistake made to Steve Pearce that resulted in an fourth inning solo homerun. Outside of that, he gave up two other hits, and struck out seven batters. We’ve been spoiled by some really good starts by Weaver, CJ and Richards lately, and Shoemaker’s start tonight can be lumped in alongside them. His slider was looking good early on, and his change-up looked equally sharp. Ol’ Shoey ended the evening with seven Ks and one earned run, and also picked up a win for his baseball card. I want to see him have another good start or two before completely rejoicing, but he pitched great and he’s got to be feeling a confidence boost right about now.
On the offensive side of the ball, the Halos were having a tough time with Ubaldo Jiminez for a good chunk of the game. Base runners and hits were hard to come by, until in the seventh inning when Erick Aybar and Johnny Giavotella got back-to-back infield singles. A couple batters later, Chris Iannetta came through in the clutch again, by way of a grounder that was misplayed by Orioles SS JJ Hardy, allowing Aybar to score. The bottom of the order must have heard us mocking them, because after Iannetta’s triumph, newcomer Marc Krauss hit a single into left field, scoring Giavotella. It was Krauss’ first hit and RBI with the Angels and it came at the perfect time. The Angels had the lead 2-1, and in the following innings the lead was bolstered by solo shots from Mike Trout(he loves a "hometown" crowd") and David Freese. A wild pitch in the ninth and then an infield single by Trout gave the Angels a 6-1 lead. The Angels, for the first time since April 21st, managed to win a game by five runs or more. Please do more of this.
So the Angels had a laughable lineup, and a shaky starter, but they ended up getting a sterling start from Ol’ Shoey, and a couple clutch hits from the weakest part of the lineup. Maybe Mike Scioscia is a genius after all? Or he’s just lucky. I’m fine with either option.