Matt Shoemaker had an impressive string of performances in late August last season and has gotten an earlier start this year.
He'll try to provide another scoreless outing Tuesday night for the Los Angeles Angels and take advantage of Jason Kipnis' absence for the Cleveland Indians.
Shoemaker (5-7, 4.24 ERA) was the first Angels pitcher to register three scoreless starts of seven innings or longer since Nolan Ryan in 1976 and 1977 with a stretch that lasted Aug. 21-31. He also produced the second-longest scoreless streak by a Los Angeles rookie at 23 1-3 innings en route to finishing second in the AL rookie of the year vote.
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Shoemaker is working on another such streak after back-to-back scoreless starts and didn't get a decision while the Angels lost 3-0 in Houston on Thursday. The right-hander went seven innings for the first time in nine outings since May 26.
"I think he's found some stuff," manager Mike Scioscia told MLB's official website. "He's much closer to what we saw last year than he was at the beginning of the season."
Shoemaker produced those performances knowing full well he may have lost his rotation spot whenever Jered Weaver returned from an ailing left hip - which reportedly could come as early as next week - but C.J. Wilson possibly being lost for the season to an elbow injury may have helped solidify his spot on the staff.
"As soon as (Weaver is) ready, we want him back more than anybody," Shoemaker said. "We know what he can do on the field, and that can really help us."
For now, Shoemaker will try to help the Angels (56-49) regain their momentum following a six-game skid, their longest in two years. Los Angeles snapped that slide by rallying from an early three-run deficit for a 5-4 victory in Monday's series opener.
Conor Gillaspie hit the go-ahead, two-run homer in the sixth in his club's sixth win in the last eight games versus Cleveland (48-57) and fourth in a row in Anaheim. The Indians have lost nine of 12 and three in a row on a seven-game trip that ends Wednesday.
Cleveland, batting .204 with 11 runs so far on the trek, had to put Kipnis on the disabled list Friday because of nagging inflammation in his right shoulder. His career-best .326 average ranked third in the AL.
Carlos Carrasco (11-8, 4.03) will try to make up for his absence in his first start since remaining with the team after Friday's trade deadline. The right-hander, thought to have the interest of at least three clubs, earned his first win in five starts Thursday with a two-hitter in Oakland.
Carrasco was 0-2 with a 6.00 ERA in his four starts before that 3-1 victory.
"It looked like it was bothering him a little bit," manager Terry Francona said. "So I just said, 'Hey, man, teams call, because you're coveted. That's a good thing.' But, we're not dying to let our pitching go away, and they know that."
Carrasco will make his first start against the Angels since April 13, 2011, and third overall. He had no record and a 3.46 ERA in the other two.
Shoemaker picked up a 9-3 win in his only start against Cleveland on June 17, 2014, yielding two runs in eight innings while fanning a career-high 10 - a mark he's matched three times since.