Shoemaker's passage from signing with the
The right-hander with the thick, dark beard got his chance this season and seized it emphatically. With a scoreless seven-inning performance Sunday in the Angels' 8-1 rout of the
"When he's on that mound he thinks he's Nolan Ryan," Manager
The similarity to Hall of Famer Ryan is more in intensity than velocity. Shoemaker's fastball lives in the low 90s but he has an effective split-finger fastball and changes speeds well. His control is outstanding — he has given up 21 walks and struck out 115 in 117 2/3 innings — and he has boosted a starting rotation that lost
"Shoe is just getting an opportunity and he's making the most of it," Scioscia said.
With his 14th win Shoemaker matched a franchise record for victories by a rookie set in 1962 by Dean Chance and equaled by Marcelino Lopez and Frank Tanana. Shoemaker also became the first Angels pitcher to win six games in August since Chance in 1964.
Not bad for a guy whose minor league numbers were solid but not overwhelming, putting him way down on the depth chart.
"That's the game of baseball. That's the wonderful, crazy thing about this game," Shoemaker said Sunday after his five-hit, seven-strikeout performance helped the Angels conclude a dominant four-game sweep of Oakland.
"You never know. You never have tomorrow in life. That's why it's a blessing to be here every day."
Keeping the Angels ahead of the A's was his primary focus Sunday, and he said he was surprised to hear his feat ranked with Ryan's.
"That's an honor to even be mentioned by that name. That's pretty special," he said. 'With that being said, it's just one of those things, keep trying to get better, keep trying to get outs."
Shoemaker, who will be 28 on Sept. 27, made his major league debut last September with a spot start against Seattle. He made the Angels' roster out of
Scioscia projected him to get an occasional start behind Skaggs, Richards,
Enter Shoemaker. "Matt has been a keystone to our rotation. He's gotten the opportunity and he's making the most of it. And I think that he was well prepared for it," Scioscia said.
He surely waited long enough to appreciate it.
"Once you get that opportunity you want to run with it and do as best as you can," Shoemaker said. "It's one of those things where every time I get the ball I try and be as aggressive as I can and just keep going out there and try and get outs, put up zeroes for the team, and at the end of the day the team getting the win.
"When G went down we all knew we were all going to pick each other up," he added, referring to Richards. "We were going to pick it up for us, pick it up for him. That's a testament to such a good group of guys that we have. We're able to do that and rally around each other and keep getting better."
None more than Shoemaker, who opened many previously oblivious eyes when he took a no-hitter into the seventh inning at Boston's
"You'd like to do that your whole career," he said. "I just want to keep it going. Keep doing what you do to get better."