Matt Shoemaker pitched his best game in not only this season, but perhaps even last season, too. How good was it? He flirted with a perfect game until the fifth inning, when he gave up a double to Matt Wieters, but had made mincemeat of the previous 14 batters. He had ONE three ball count in the whole game, getting ahead early and often and ultimately whiffed a career high 12 batters.
The last time an Angels pitcher had 12 strikeouts was Jered Weaver in September of 2014. Shoemaker also went 7.1 innings, his longest outing of the season. The Bearded One gave up no walks, added to his stellar evening and making him one of three Angels pitchers in history to have 12 or more Ks and zero walks(Frank Tanana & Dan Haren). That's how good it was! New career/season bests and feathers in his cap aplenty at the Big A tonight for The Cobbler.
Best of all, there were no runs given up by Shoemaker, and he only gave up three total hits, all to a team that sent missile after missile into the stands last night, and served the Halos an L. He was still dealing in the eighth, but after a wild pitch strikeout where the runner got on first, Mike Scioscia thought that was a good time lift him. Shoemaker, a man on fire, was also only at 95 pitchers, so going to Fernando Salas could have proven controversial, but Salas got out of the inning with the 1-0 lead in tact.
The story of the evening was pitching, and it wasn't even all on our very own starter, but also Kevin Gausman of the Orioles. While Shoemaker was crushing the little birds from the mound, Gausman was also making things quite difficult for the home team. The Halos couldn't score until the seventh, when Gregorio Petit got a double, followed by a single from Yunel Escobar. That knock sent Petit home and the good guys had a 1-0 lead in a game where hits were scarce and runs were practically extinct.
After Salas got the necessary two outs in the eighth, Joe Smith came in for the ninth and he looked pretty good, got a couple quick outs right out the gate. He did get into a little trouble after that, getting a couple guys on base, and then, you know, basically looked over to Shoemaker in the dugout, mouthed the words "BUTTERCUP" and proceeded to give up a bomb to center field. Shoemaker's win erased.
Yep, the Orioles came and killed the Angels with a long ball, just like they did last night, ruining Saturday's evening at the ballpark and putting the Halos in a 3-1 deficit.
The Angels' win erased. One strike away from a great win on a historic night, and Joe Smith tore it all down on one pitch. Matt Shoemaker was otherworldly, inspiring fans and showing us a whole new level of dominance. This is one really, really hard, Joe Smith-shaped pill to swallow. I'm going to choose to focus on the night Shoemaker had on the bump, and not that gut punch stuff.
Way to go, Shoemaker. That was amazing.