Shoemaker gets Game 2 in Halos' three-man rotation
After Wilson takes Game 3, Weaver prepared to start on three days' rest
ANAHEIM -- The Angels have some serious rotation questions heading into their American League Division Series showdown against the Royals, but they have a plan to counter it -- a three-man rotation, a 12-man pitching staff and their ace going on short rest.
Jered Weaver will pitch Games 1 and 4, marking only the third time in his nine-year career that he'll pitch on three days' rest. Matt Shoemaker, rehabbing from a mild left oblique strain for the last two weeks, will pitch Game 2, lining him up to start a potential Game 5. And C.J. Wilson, coming off his worst regular season as a starter, will be pushed back to Game 3.
Wilson, who posted a 4.51 ERA and walked 4.4 hitters per nine innings this season, will only start the one game. Fellow lefty Hector Santiago, who had a 3.75 ERA but a 3.7 walk rate, will be part of a nine-man bullpen that is quite rare for a five-game playoff series.
Shoemaker, who won 16 games and posted a 3.04 ERA in a surprising rookie season, has been nursing the strain since Sept. 15, but he threw bullpen sessions on Sunday and Tuesday and is "doing remarkably well," manager Mike Scioscia said.
"We're expecting Matt to be fine and pitch as deep as he can into the game," said Scioscia, who must submit his ALDS roster by 10 a.m. PT on Thursday. "That is one consideration. The other is, we really like the matchups. We like the way Matt has been pitching, and I think Weaver getting out in Game 1, followed with Matt, gives us the best look here in the first couple of games."
Weaver hasn't started on three days' rest since 2011, when he did it twice, giving up seven runs in six innings on Aug. 28 and two runs in six innings on Sept. 18.
But the 31-year-old right-hander was at his best from Aug. 24 to Sept. 20, posting a 2.72 ERA over a six-start stretch in which his average fastball velocity was about three ticks higher than usual, at 92 mph. And his last three starts, including Thursday's ALDS opener, will come on six days' rest, five days' rest and five days' rest, respectively.
The ALDS is the only round for which teams can get away with a three-man rotation.
So Scioscia, down to just four starters since Garrett Richards injured his knee on Aug. 20, will take full advantage.
"Our medical staff feels really good at where Jered is, and Jered feels 100 percent behind the fact of coming back on three days and being effective," Scioscia said. "We don't have any reservations at all about wanting to get Jered out there again in Game 4."