Matt Shoemaker is back and it can’t come at a better time for Los Angeles Angels.

By David Rice

The Los Angeles Angels have announced the Matt Shoemaker will take his turn in the rotation on Sunday afternoon against the Minnesota Twins, after missing his past two starts with a strained right forearm.  Rookie Nick Tropeano went 1-1 in the two spot starts in place of Shoemaker, but the Angels will welcome the 2014 rookie of the year runner-up back with open arms.  Shoemaker started the season struggling as his ERA sat at 6.61 in the middle of May, but a stellar six-week stretch from late June to early August which saw Shoemaker post a miniscule 1.78 ERA helped the righty lower his ERA to 4.01.  However, back-to-back bad starts against the Chicago White Sox and Kansas City Royals got Shoemaker demoted to the minors for 10 days to work out the kinks again.

Shoemaker then returned against the Detroit Tigers on August 27th and pitched a gem allowing only one hit in 7.1 shutout innings in a 2-0 series clinching victory, giving the Angels their first series victory in three weeks.  He followed it up with another standout performance giving up only one run on five hits against the Oakland A’s on September 1st.  However, the next day Shoemaker woke up with soreness in his right forearm and he was ruled out as the game one starter in the series against the Los Angeles Dodgers and then he proceeded to miss his next turn in the rotation against the Seattle Mariners on Tuesday.  With the season dwindling and the Angels fighting for their playoff lives, Shoemaker’s return could give them a shot in the arm against the Twins who the Angels are battling with for the second wild-card spot.

Los Angeles Angels pitcher Nick Tropeano has filled in for Matt Shoemaker multiple times in the last month. Mandatory Credit: Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports

What is interesting to note is that Shoemaker’s resurgence coincided with the Angels hot play in late June and July, and then again in the end of August and early September.  Shoemaker’s struggles have been a microcosm of the Angels season-long inconsistent play which has left many people wondering if the team is truly a playoff contender or only a pretender. The last 16 games will answer that question and Shoemaker who will likely make three starts during that stretch will play a big part in the Los Angeles Angels success or failure in their bid for a return trip to the post-season.  Let’s hope the bearded-wonder is up to the challenge.