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In-depth analysis of Los Angeles Angels Matt Shoemaker.

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Los Angeles Angels pitcher Matt Shoemaker tied Pedro Martinez for third most consecutive innings pitched without a walk at 49 since 1974. Shoemaker only trails Curt Schilling & Greg Maddux. Pretty elite company.

I don’t want to jinx anything so I’ll try to be quiet about it but seriously. Who is this Matt Shoemaker? Where did he come from and how long will he stay?

Los Angeles Angels pitcher Matt Shoemaker has been nothing short of unbelievable in his last 5 starts this season. Truly, he hasn’t come out of nowhere. He finished second in 2014 for the Rookie of the Year to White Sox crusher, Jose Abreu. However, last season he struggled all season long. He had glimpses of 2014 Shoemaker but they never lasted long.

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Starting the 2016 season Shoemaker looked a lot like 2015 Shoemaker that was until 5 starts ago when the 2014 Shoemaker came to play in 2016. You following me?

It all started when Shoe’s back (heels? get it? its a foot joke) were against the wall and he was in jeopardy of losing his starting spot. He had been sent down to the minors because of a rough start to the season. Shoemaker’s numbers in his first six starts were ugly. 24 1/2 innings pitched, 9.12 ERA and opponents were batting .366/.388/.579 against him. His fast ball was being pummeled.

Adversity though seems to be when Shoemaker shines the most.

At the end of spring training it came to him and Nick Tropeano for the fifth spot in the rotation and Shoemaker certainy outpitched Tropeano. When the first wave of starting pitchers went on the disabled list is also when Shoemaker’s stuff went on the DL too.

He was sent to the minors to get his stuff right and when he came back, he brought brilliance with him. It also was when the team announced that Tim Lincecum had been signed. In his last six starts Shoemaker has been something special. In 43 1/3 innings he has an era of 2.28 and opponents are hitting just .226/.240/.311 against the Michigan native.

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His strikeout to walk ratio is also 53/3 in his last five starts compared to 17/11 in his first six starts.

So what changed?

According to  Mike Axisa of CBSsports.com it has been his pitch selection. Six starts ago is when Shoemaker moved away from primarily throwing his fastball, that again was getting pounded and started using his split-finger. Axisa says “Opponents were punishing his fastball so he basically stopped throwing it, and instead has been leaning on his best pitch, the split-finger.”

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Shoemaker has been nothing short of the ace of this staff the last five starts. He goes out there and baffles hitters with what he’s throwing them.

In a season that has seen a lot of darkness so far, it’s nice to see some light shine through. Especially for one of the good guys of the game.

Here to keeping the split-finger fastball down and the split-ends in your beard to a minimum, Bearded Wonder.

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