Angels' Shoemaker 'going in right direction' after loss to Mariners
The fact that Matt Shoemaker's last start was encouraging has a great deal to do with why it was so frustrating.
The Los Angeles Angels' starting pitcher doesn't lose often to American League West opponents. Monday's loss to the Seattle Mariners was just the second loss of his career to a division rival, compared to 10 wins.
On Monday, Shoemaker went toe-to-toe with one of the game's best, Mariners starter Felix Hernandez. Shoemaker was on the mound for 7.1 innings. He gave up just four hits, only walked one and tied his career-high 10 strikeouts. Yet, it was all in a loss.
Three of the four hits Shoemaker gave up were solo home runs.
Nelson Cruz and Logan Morrison homered off of him in the seventh inning. Then, after recording an out in the eighth, leadoff hitter Seth Smith homered deep to right field, putting the Mariners up 3-1 in the game and ending Shoemaker's night.
By no means was it a bad outing. It was actually Shoemaker's longest outing of the season. In terms of being on target, the Angels' starter felt he was on target for most of the night, aside from the three pitches that left the yard.
"That's the frustrating part," he said. "Not many (were off target). That's what's so frustrating about (Monday and) this game. It was weird."
Through six innings, Shoemaker was in a good groove. The Seattle bats were quiet with just one hit. Then all of a sudden three of the next seven hitters he faced took him deep. The groove he found himself in during those first six innings, however, is something he'd like to mimic going forward.
"That's exactly where I want to be," Shoemaker said of how he pitched the first six innings. "We thought we were going to roll seventh, eighth, and ninth inning too. Not getting ahead of ourselves, just taking one batter at a time. That's where I need to be and want to be when I'm pitching -- aggressive and getting guys out quick."
Being able to do so for the majority of the game Monday provides a silver lining for Shoemaker, who threw just 90 pitches, heading into his next start.
"As tough as that is to say, yeah, it's definitely encouraging," he said. "(I'm) going the right direction."