HOUSTON -- Matt Shoemaker has started 12 times since May 21. Ten times he completed at least six innings and allowed no more than two runs while still in the game. And on nine occasions his offense was held to no more than three runs until he came out.Shoemaker has
HOUSTON -- Matt Shoemaker has started 12 times since May 21. Ten times he completed at least six innings and allowed no more than two runs while still in the game. And on nine occasions his offense was held to no more than three runs until he came out.
Shoemaker has a 2.39 ERA in that stretch, and somehow his record is only 3-5.
"One of those things," Shoemaker said after the Angels' 2-1 defeat at Minute Maid Park on Friday night. "You're not going to change anything. You're going to go out there and keep pitching the way you're pitching, and hopefully pitch better."
Shoemaker couldn't have pitched much better than he did against the surging Astros, who are now a Major League-best 35-16 since May 23.
Through six innings, the Astros' only run against him came on a triple by Preston Tucker and an ensuing single, past a drawn-in infield, by Jason Castro. Their second run came in the seventh, with two outs, runners on the corners and Shoemaker watching from the bench. Immediately after Shoemaker walked Castro and was pulled, Joe Smith gave up a first-pitch RBI single to George Springer.
The Angels took the field averaging a Major League-best 6.9 runs per game in July, but were held to zero through the first eight innings by Lance McCullers Jr. and his lively, oft-used curveball.
When it was over, only one qualified starting pitcher -- Julio Teheran, of the last-place Braves -- had received less run support than Shoemaker this season.
"We want to win, and that's the goal," Shoemaker said after his Angels snapped their season-best six-game winning streak. "So in my position, I have to go out there and put up as many zeros as I can."
Shoemaker's ERA has dropped, from 9.12 to 3.99, in a little more than 10 weeks, but he's had very little to show for it. He's been charged with 22 runs over a stretch of 83 innings, a span in which he has struck out 93 batters and walked only 10. But seven of those runs were charged to him after he'd exited the game.
He pitched 7 1/3 scoreless innings on May 21, but the offense scored one run while he was pitching, and he ultimately didn't get the win.
He gave up two runs in the first seven innings at Yankee Stadium on June 6 but was removed with two outs in the eighth and watched José Álvarez serve up a game-winning three-run homer to Carlos Beltrán.
On June 11, Shoemaker pitched eight scoreless innings and didn't get the win because Huston Street couldn't hold a three-run lead.
On June 17 he completed six innings in a 1-1 tie.
Five days later, the Angels scored only once, and Shoemaker took the loss despite giving up three runs in 7 1/3 innings.
On June 27 he left with a 2-0 lead, and the bullpen blew it.
He got the win on July 16, but only because he threw a shutout -- the offense scored just one run.
Then came Friday, a night when he was removed with 101 pitches when the top of the Astros' batting order came up for the fourth time in the bottom of the seventh. Smith gave up what ended up being the winning run, and Shoemaker took his 10th loss.
He blamed himself.
"I go back to that Castro at-bat," he said. "I get him out, come the ninth inning, it's a 1-1 game. So ..."
Alden Gonzalez has covered the Angels for MLB.com since 2012. Follow him on Twitter and Facebook, and listen to his podcast.