Jul 21, 2014; Anaheim, CA, USA; Los Angeles Angels starting pitcher Matt Shoemaker (52) throws in the first inning of the game against the Baltimore Orioles at Angel Stadium of Anaheim. Mandatory Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

Angels Task Matt Shoemaker with Facing Justin Verlander

To many, the Los Angeles Angels’ 2-1 win over Detroit last night was bitter sweet.

Tyler Skaggs allowed one run-a Miguel Cabrera solo home runs- through 5 2/3 grueling innings. He made way for Mike Morin, who notched the win after facing just one hitter.

One more out would have earned Skaggs a hard earned victory.

It was an inspired outing for the young right-hander coming off back-to-back outings yielding five runs or more. Tigers’ starter Drew Smyly didn’t make it easy for Skaggs, pitching 4 1/3 perfect innings before Howie Kendrick’s double broke it up.

Once Skaggs exited, Angels’ bats came alive. In the sixth, Chris Iannetta and Kole Calhoun notched consecutive doubles down the left field line, tying the contest 1-1. After Mike Trout struck out, Albert Pujols was intentionally walked, setting the stage for Efren Navarro.

Navarro took Smyly’s 1-2 cutter up the middle to score Calhoun from second and give the Halos a lead. The clutch hit comes a week after Navarro’s 16th-inning double gave the Angels a walk-off win over Seattle.

The trio of Kevin Jepsen, Joe Smith, and Huston Street stymied Detroit through the final three frames; each throwing a shutout inning, respectively, with Street earning his 26th save of the season.

Pitching Matchup: Matt Shoemaker (7-3, 4.54 ERA) vs. Justin Verlander (9-8, 4.84 ERA)

Matt Shoemaker’s July 21 line against Baltimore is deceiving. He surrendered four runs through 5 2/3 innings despite earning a career-high 10 strikeouts. All four runs came on Adam Jones two-run homers.

Expectations for Shoemaker weren’t high going into the season, but he’s proven to be a vital rotation piece. Jered Weaver’s early departure on July 7 force Shoemaker to pitch over three relief innings, giving Toronto nothing more than two runs.

In 10 starts, Shoemaker has allowed more than three runs on two occasions. He’ll look to keep the trend going in his first career outings against the Tigers.

Justin Verlander’s struggles aren’t a secret. The perennial All-Star’s decline over the past three seasons has reached a low, averaging his worst strikeouts per nine innings ratio (6.7) since 2006 while maintaining a career-high 1.452 WHIP.

Verlander and the Tigers edged out Arizona last Monday thanks in part to the ace’s 6 2/3 innings of three-run baseball. Despite his highest walk total (3) since early June, Verlander struck out five batters for the first time since June 27.

The righty is 4-5 lifetime against the Angels but hasn’t faced them since 2012 when he gave up six runs through six innings. The loss came at Angel Stadium where he is 2-2 with a 3.52 ERA.

Walk offs:

  1. Josh Hamilton left last night’s game with soreness in his left knee and is listed as day-to-day.
  2. Shoemaker is a Michigan native, attending Trenton High School and Eastern Michigan University.
  3. The Angels have won 14 of their last 19 games.

TV: 6:05 P.M. PST, Fox Sports WEST, Fox Sports Detroit

Radio: KLAA 830, 97.1 The Ticket

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Tags: Los Angeles Angels Matt Shoemaker Tyler Skaggs

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