Gam3 53, Angels at Mariners
Brandon Maurer vs. Matt Shoemaker, 7:10pm
There’s nothing like seeing Felix pitching well. He started the year brilliantly, then struggled, culminating in a weirdly un-Kingly game in which he struck out no one. But since then, he’s gone 31 1/3 IP with 30 strikeouts to just four walks. That’s encouraging, and it’s good to remember and ponder, because today’s match-up does not feature that kind of potential.
Today’s game features Matt Shoemaker, the righty who’s struggled mightily for many years in AAA, but who came up for a single start last year and, predictably, blanked the M’s over 5 innings. He’s been OK as a spot starter this year as well, though he’s continued to bounce back and forth between Anaheim and the PCL, his personal hell. The start was supposed to be lefty Wade LeBlanc’s, but after Sean Burnett’s injury, they’ve moved LeBlanc to the bullpen to have another southpaw. That meant Shoemaker didn’t have to spend the normally-required ten days in the minors after being optioned.
Last year, we knew nothing about Shoemaker, but now at least we know what he throws. He’s a fastball/change-up guy primarily, with a slider and the occasional curve. He tops out around 91, but his slider looks like an OK pitch. His change has been oddly successful in the majors, as it’s clearly not fooling minor league lefties. His start last year certainly was very successful, though perhaps not predictive; that game’s M’s line-up included Carlos Triunfel, Franklin Gutierrez, Henry Blanco, Kendrys Morales and Raul Ibanez.
1: Jones, CF
2: Saunders, RF
3: Cano, 2B
4: Smoak, 1B
5: Seager, 3B
6: Franklin, DH
7: Ackley, LF
8: Zunino, C
9: Miller, SS
SP: :deep sigh: Brandon Maurer. C’mon big fella.
Eight lefties – very nice.
Erasmo Ramirez starts tonight for Tacoma. Taijuan Walker made it through three so-so innings, but gave up four runs on a three-run HR to Efren Navarro and then Luis Jimenez went back-to-back. Still, there’ve been no reports of soreness, or inflammation or other problems following the outing. Again, it was his first outing of the year, something most M’s hurlers got out of the way back in February or early March.