Well, Matt Shoemaker truly is the gift that keeps on giving. Unfortunately, the Angels are the Grinches that keep on Grinching. The Bearded One gave yet another quality start for the Angels, finishing six innings pitched, giving up 6 hits but he struck out 7 and only allowed two runs. A quality start, down to the brass tacks, yet it had the same fate as most of Shoemaker’s quality starts in 2016: they wasted it.
Matt Shoemaker didn’t have the Terminator-like accuracy and deadly array of pitches on display like in some previous starts, but he was still able to quickly work his way through the Athletics’ lineup. His two runs came from a sac fly by Yonder Alonso in the second, and a solo homer from Khris Davis in the fourth. That’s it and that’s all...a crummy sac fly and a homer; yet that was all that was needed to get The Cobbler bummed out.
I suppose some credit for the Angels’ ineptitude and failure of backing up Shoemaker on the pitching of Kendall Graveman. This dude wasn’t messing around, and was putting on quite the smoke show alongside Matt Shoemaker.
Graveman only gave up three hits in seven innings, and the only run the Angels got was off of a Kole Calhoun bomb in the top of the third. So on one hand, you had Shoemaker (and bullpen outings from Jose Alvarez & Mike Morin) doing their thing for the Angels, and then you had Graveman and his bullpen doing their thing. Good pitching, but too low on offense, like two rams butting head in beautiful violence, but then locking horns, unable to get free.
But this was only a 2-1 affair, headed into the ninth inning. The Angels still only needed one measly run, and we would have a new ballgame. There was a tiny bit of daylight at the end of the tunnel, but they’d have to make their move quickly...and make their move they did.
In the top of the ninth, Oakland with Ryan Madson on the mound, Jefry Marte got on base with a single (then was subbed for Todd Cunningham). Next up, recent re-activation Daniel Nava hit a screamer to right-center and with a diving catch, it LOOKED like it was caught by A’s OF Jake Smolinski, and he’d then turn two on the throw back to first to end the game. BUT...the replay showed it was trapped, not caught. So the ump awarded Cunnningham third and Nava first. Whoa...these guys were back in business!
Johnny Giavotella was next up, and with a sac fly to right-center, he had tied up the game 2-2, breathing late, new life into the Angels’ and their chances of walking away with a W. Better late than never, I guess. Now they had themselves a two item to-do list:
1)Don’t let the A’s score any more
2)Score another run
They didn’t have a chance to get to #2, though. Why? Fernando Salas, that’s why. Salas, the most loved and respected pitcher on Halos Heaven, came in to pitch in the ninth and ended up losing the game. With two outs on the board, ready to go to extras, Salas walked Marcus Semien, then gave up a single to Smolinski. That sent Semien to third, and with the flick of the bat, Billy Burns pushed a ball into shallow left, scoring Semien and giving the Athletics a stupid walkoff win, 3-2.
The effort to come back and tie the game in the ninth was nice and all, but all that work was thrown out like dirty dishwater, and the busboy’s name is Fernando Salas. Still, there can be some blame left over for the absent offense. They got smoked by Graveman and by the time they got some success at the dish, the sand in the hourglass had run out. Game over, man, game over.
My hat still goes off to Shoemaker; it wasn’t quite as epic some of his other glorious starts of late, but it was still a quick, solid night for him and he gave his team a pretty damn good chance at winning. Keep it coming, Shoe.
Now...go to bed, or go out and party, I don’t care. Just be here tomorrow for the Tim Lincecum show. I think it’s going to be a good one.