Trenton's Shoemaker, Angels stifle Tigers
Anaheim, Calif. — The Shoemaker family might have been the only people from Michigan to find pleasure in the Tigers’ 7-0 loss to the Los Angeles Angels on Friday night.
From Detroit’s perspective, it was a stinker — a batch of misplays, bad at-bats and one grave missed opportunity.
But for right-hander Matt Shoemaker, the pride of Trenton High School and Eastern Michigan University, it was wonderful. He did what he always does against his hometown team — dominate them.
“Shoemaker has stuck it to us since I’ve been here,” manager Brad Ausmus said. “I don’t think we’ve ever hit him, especially in this ballpark.”
He’s right; they never have. It was his fifth start against the Tigers. In the previous four, he allowed just three earned runs in 26 2/3 innings. On Friday, he charged through six innings, allowing just three hits while striking out seven.
“I want to do that against every team,” said Shoemaker, whose ERA coming in was 5.21. “I’m not sure (why he dominates the Tigers). I’m just executing. I’ve said it a lot, but it’s aggressive intent. It’s being aggressive and having intent behind every pitch. Having that changes the game for most guys.
“And like I said, I want to be able to do that against every team.”
In 32 2/3 total innings against the Tigers, Shoemaker has posted 30 strikeouts and a sub-1.0 ERA.
He stumbled only once. In the second inning, the Tigers loaded the bases with nobody out. Victor Martinez doubled, Justin Upton walked and J.D. Martinez, in his first at-bat of the season, rolled a single to right field.
“You’ve got to calm yourself down in that situation,” Shoemaker said. “You have to execute and do what you can to get out of it. We were able to do that.”
He struck out Alex Avila, got Andrew Romine to force Victor Martinez at the plate and Jose Iglesias to fly to left.
That proved to be a pivotal moment because the Angels scored twice in the bottom of the second and never looked back.
It was another disappointing and baffling start for Jordan Zimmermann. There were some encouraging signs — his fastball was hitting 93-94 mph consistently, he was getting some ground-ball outs — but in the end, it was the same bottom line: 5 1/3 innings, 10 hits and five runs, four earned.
“I’m just having some bad luck, I think,” Zimmermann said. “It’s got to change. I feel good out there. The ball is finally coming out good. I hope it changes soon. I am still making mistakes, don’t get me wrong. But I’m getting unlucky, too.”
He was hit hard early. Luis Valbuena homered to start the second.
“I threw a fastball right where I wanted it, up and in and the guy hit a home run,” Zimmermann shrugged. “You tip your cap there.”
The Angels then loaded the bases with no outs, but Zimmerman was able to limit the damage to one run — getting Yunel Escobar to hit into a double play.
But after a 1-2-3 third, Zimmermann ran afoul of the baseball gods. A two-out, bloop double by Martin Maldonado scored a run in the fourth. A two-out error by J.D. Martinez in right field allowed Escobar to score from first in the fifth.
Escobar had reached on a chopper up the middle that Ian Kinsler backhanded but threw errantly to first — it was scored a single.
“I just need to get ahead of guys early in the count,” he said. “I feel like I am 1-0, 2-0 too often and I’m putting myself in tough situations — maybe being too fine with the first pitch. I have to do a better job with that and with putting guys away when I’m ahead in the count.”
There was nothing cheap about the Angels' run in the sixth. Andrelton Simmons doubled off the wall in right center and Cliff Pennington singled him home.
Zimmermann, whose ERA is now 6.28, has given up 10 or more hits and five runs in three of his last five starts.
“As you can see, I’ve been having rough outings all year,” he said. “But I’ve been around long enough; you’ve got to stay positive in this game and know you are good enough to be here and are able to make those pitches in tight situations.
“I’m going to keep battling, keep grinding and it’s going to change.”
After Chad Bell worked an effective 1 2/3 innings, Anibal Sanchez gave up a two-run home run to Mike Trout in the bottom of the eighth. It’s the ninth home run allowed by Sanchez in 18 2/3 innings. Trout had been 0-for-8 in the series to that point.
The Tigers managed just one hit — a double by Upton — off three Angels relievers (Blake Parker, David Hernandez and Keynan Middleton). It was the second time this season they’ve been shut out.
They are 3-4 with two games remaining on this West Coast trip.