The Angels needed a day off. We ALL needed a day off, taking our attention away from Angels and putting it elsewhere; a recharging of those boys of Summer batteries. Some Angels players went to the beach yesterday, some probably played with their kids, others worked out, watched Netflix, the usual. When they arrived at the ballpark tonight, to take on division rival Houston, it was with those clear minds and recharged batteries that they punched their figurative time cards and put on their work faces.
It was time for an Astros thrashing, and what a thrashing it was, with the Angels scoring from every angle and Matt Shoemaker continuing his utter domination he showed us in his last start. The Halos not only served up all that piping hot carnage to their visiting guests, but they did it all with huge smile on their faces. Yep...they needed a day off.
This game was a completely routine affair for the first couple innings, with Houston starter Mike Fiers handling things like you'd expect, but then the Angels went HAM in the third. The Halos strung together some hits and walks and all of a sudden, the bases were loaded with no outs, with the top of the order up. UH OH. Yunel Escobar got the first out of the inning on a pop up, but then Kole Calhoun tapped a perfectly placed single near the left field foul line. OF Colby Rasmus was right there, however, and only one was driven in.
No worries, though, because of course Mike Trout was right behind Calhoun, and of course he hits a double off the left-center wall, driving in three. Albert Pujols saw all the fun these guys were having, and decided he wanted a piece of Fiers, before he got yanked. Pujols hit a moonshot to left-center, sailing over the wall and BOOM...Angels had a 6-0 lead. They'd tack another one on with a Yunel Escobar RBI single in the fourth, and just like that, starter Matt Shoemaker had some burly run support.
Guess what, though. Dude didn't even need it! For the second straight start, The Cobbler has been out-of-his-mind good, striking out 23 batters, with zero walks, in two back-to-back games. His last one, he went deep into the game...this time, he finished the whole damn thing,. Ol' Shoey was sent out there in ninth, perhaps a vote of confidence from Scioscia after his controversial move to take him out last week. He'd allow a couple guys on, though, and with one out, Scioscia finally lifted him. As you'd expect, Shoemaker got a big standing ovation from the hometown crowd.
The final line for Shoemaker's night: 8.1 IP, seven hits, 2 runs, no walks and 11 Ks! He had a career high in pitches (116), a career innings pitched (8.1) and it was also the first time in his career that he's struck out 10 or more in back-to-back starts. The two runs on the night were batters he was responsible for, but reliever Cam Bedrosian was the one that gave up the hit. Thanks a lot, Cam!
Wow. I didn't see this run coming from Shoemaker, a guy who just recently had the highest ERA of anyone in the bigs. Matt Shoemaker has shifted into some crazy gear, never-before-seen gear and has become a must-watch hurler out there on the mound.
Will it last? Hopefully, to some degree. It's hard to imagine him carrying on this particular type of tear for the rest of the season...but what if he could? Are the looming pitching reinforcements motivating him to destroy opposing batters? Is he just mentally locked in, finally having things click after a rough start? Did his wife find a meteor in his backyard, and is now feeding him crystals from said meteor and it's giving Shoey some alien, superhuman powers? Whatever it is, gimme gimme gimme. I need some more.