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Game #43 Preview: Angels @ Blue Jays

Dan Hamilton-USA TODAY Sports

The Blue Jays will try to avoid losing another four-game series tonight as R.A. Dickey attempts to pitch an outing that doesn't induce vomiting. Opposing the knuckler on the mound will be Matt Shoemaker who contrary to popular belief is a baseball pitcher and not a cobbler. The Jays record has fallen to 18-24 and the season is starting to be at risk of coming completely off the rails if they can't get some strong pitching soon.

The Angels starter in Matt Shoemaker had a helluva rookie year in 2014 finishing second in AL ROY voting to only Jose Abreu. His 16-4 record certainly helped his votes as he actually wasn't as good as some of his competitors, sporting a solid albeit unspectacular 3.26 FIP in 136.0 IP. This season he hasn't been as good... His peripherals have stayed largely the same with a K-rate of nearly 25% and the exact same BB-rate as last season (4.4%). There's just the slight issue of giving up 11 home runs in 38.1 innings pitched! When you account for his 20.4% HR/FB rate then his xFIP of 3.80 is a little better than the 5.63 ERA he is currently sporting. He really hasn't pitched that badly when you look at it and a large portion of his earned runs have come off the homers so his season could definitely turn around soon if the balls stop flying over the outfield wall.

The main issue for Shoemaker is that he used to have a ground ball rate near 41% and that has dropped to 28.2% this season, leading to a bunch of fly balls and home runs. Not much has changed in his repertoire and no one can come up with too much hard evidence for the decrease in ground balls so I guess we'll just have to wait and see.

The righty features a fastball and sinker in the high 80's along with a splitter, slider, and curveball. The splitter is where he gets most of his whiffs but it's also the pitch that has yielded seven of his eleven homers this season with five of those coming from left-handed hitters. So let's see where these are located:


So it looks like the splitter has been left up a bit too much compared to last year and he's been punished mightily by opposite-handed hitters. The righty is a pitcher who lives in and around the zone and elevates a fair amount of his pitches, so the league could simply just be catching up to him after his great rookie campaign.

Hopeful Lineup

Shoemaker has normal platoon splits so it wouldn't hurt to throw some lefties into the lineup to try and punish a hanging splitter or two, although it looks mighty thin without Russell Martin in there.

  1. Josh Donaldson 3B
  2. Jose Bautista DH
  3. Edwin Encarnacion 1B
  4. Devon Travis? 2B
  5. Kevin Pillar CF
  6. Ezequiel Carrera RF
  7. Chris Colabello LF
  8. Josh Thole C
  9. Ryan Goins SS

Bullpen Usage

A pretty fresh bullpen for John Gibbons tonight, with Brett Cecil and Roberto Osuna ready for some high leverage innings. Scott Copeland and Ryan Tepera are probably hoping to get into some more games before the team randomly decides to DFA them.


Brett Cecil

Three Days Ago: 1.0 IP, 15 pitches
Five Days Ago: 1.0 IP, 19 pitches

Scott Copeland


Steve Delabar

One Day Ago: 0.1 IP, 10 pitches
Three Days Ago: 0.1 IP, 2 pitches

Liam Hendriks

One Day Ago: 1.0 IP, 17 pitches
Two Days Ago: 1.0 IP, 18 pitches
Five Days Ago: 2.0 IP, 31 pitches

Aaron Loup

One Day Ago: 1.0 IP, 10 pitches
Three Days Ago: 0.2 IP, 31 pitches

Roberto Osuna

Two Days Ago: 0.2 IP, 9 pitches
Three Days Ago: 1.2 IP, 18 pitches

Ryan Tepera

Three Days Ago: 1.1 IP, 27 pitches

Find The Link

Find the link between Matt Shoemaker and the actor who played Abraham Lincoln in the well-received movie released three years ago.

There's no such thing as a must-win at this point in the season, but it'd be pretty frustrating to lose 7 of 8 to the Astros and Angels in consecutive four-game sets.