Matt Shoemaker Pitches Well Despite Outcome


Matt Shoemaker was a revelation for the Halos in 2014 and is out to prove that last year wasn’t a fluke. He did just that Sunday afternoon against the Royals.

From a box score standpoint, you could say Shoemaker struggled. In three innings he allowed two earned runs, four hits including a long ball and a double, and struck out just one batter. When you take a closer look though, Shoemaker performed pretty well in his Spring Training debut.

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In the first inning, the Royals led off the game with an infield single from speedster Jarrod Dyson. The play resulted in Erick Aybar fielding a ball in the gap and making a bang-bang play at first, which Dyson just narrowly beat out. Shoemaker immediately induced a twin killing from Christian Colon, who grounded into a 5-4-3 double play. Lorenzo Cain would sneak a ground ball into center field on the next at bat and then Eric Hosmer came to plate.

On the first pitch of the at bat, Shoemaker got Hosmer to roll over on a pitch and hit a weak chopper to first to which Albert Pujols fielded easily and then touched the bag. The play was called off however, as home plate umpire Alfonso Marquez ruled that the ball was in foul territory mid-air when Pujols nabbed it. The play could’ve gone either way as the ball straddled the line but the Royals got a break and Hosmer would take advantage of his good fortune as he slugged a two-run bomb to right center two pitches later. Had the call gone the Angels way, Shoemaker would’ve been out of the inning after just ten pitches.

Ex-Angel Kendrys Morales followed up Hosmer by poking a line drive down the right field line for a double but Shoemaker would then retire the sixth batter of the inning, Alex Rios, on a fly ball to left.

Everything was smooth sailing after the first inning. Shoemaker retired the next five batters before nipping Cain in the leg and then promptly getting Hosmer to ground out. All told, Shoemaker induced five groundballs, a pop out, and a strikeout out of a total thirteen batters. Certainly nothing to shake your head at.

What I’m trying to get across is that the box score lied today. Matt Shoemaker was his typical, effective self who probably would’ve thrown three shutout innings had a ground ball been three inches the other way.

Baseball is a funny game.

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