A week shy of his 27th birthday, Matt Shoemaker finally gets his
shot in the majors, and it comes against one of the AL’s worst
Filling in for the Los Angeles Angels ace, Shoemaker makes his
major league debut Friday night against the visiting Seattle
The Angels (74-78) announced Thursday that Jered Weaver had been
scratched from his scheduled start due to right forearm tightness
he first experienced Sept. 9. He is only expected to miss one
start, but it gives Shoemaker an opportunity to debut against a
Seattle team batting an AL-worst .239 this year and scoring only
3.1 runs per game since Aug. 23.
The right-hander went 11-13 with a 4.64 ERA in 29 starts for
Triple-A Salt Lake this year – his sixth in the minors. He allowed
two earned runs or less in each of his last five starts, though he
hasn’t pitched since Aug. 30.
“It gives Shoe an opportunity to show what he can do at the big
league level,” general manager Jerry Dipoto told the Angels’
official website. “We called him up for a reason. He fits very well
down the stretch and in Triple-A. He’s had nothing but consistent
durability throughout his minor league career.”
Shoemaker opposes Erasmo Ramirez (5-2, 4.98). The right-hander
lost his only start of the year against the Angels on Aug. 24,
allowing three runs – two earned – in 6 2-3 innings of a 5-1 home
defeat. He’s 0-2 with a 3.55 ERA in two career starts against
Ramirez is running into a hot Angels team and coming off a shaky
start in St. Louis on Sunday, when he allowed five runs and eight
hits in four innings of a 12-2 loss.
The Angels have won seven of nine and are a major league-best
19-7 since Aug. 23, a stretch which began with a three-game sweep
of the Mariners. Their 3.02 ERA is the best in the AL since the
start of that series.
Josh Hamilton has keyed the offense during this hot stretch,
including Wednesday in a 5-4 win over Oakland as he hit the
game-tying two-run homer in the ninth inning and the go-ahead
sacrifice fly in the 11th.
The right fielder is batting .328 since Aug. 9, bumping his
season average from .217 to .245.
“I feel like I am having good at-bats even if the results aren’t
always there,” Hamilton said. “If I can build off this last month
of quality at-bats, it would be good.”
A win would bring the Angels within three games of .500 for the
first time since July 20 when they were 46-49.
The Mariners (67-86) are in danger of falling 20 games under
.500 for the first time this season. They’ve lost nine of 11 but
beat Detroit 8-0 on Wednesday and nearly defeated the AL Central
leader again Thursday, leading in the seventh inning only to lose
“We’re not looking for moral victories, but I am very
appreciative of the way these guys are fighting and stepping up to
these teams at this time of the year,” manager Eric Wedge told the
team’s official website.
Kyle Seager broke a 2-for-40 slump with two hits Thursday, and
Dustin Ackley had a three-run homer after going 10 straight games
without an extra-base hit.
The Angels lead the season series 9-7 and will win it with one
victory in this three-game set.