Shoemaker not concerned with facing teams multiple times

Angels righty plans to make adjustments as opponents get second, third looks

Shoemaker not concerned with facing teams multiple times

TEMPE, Ariz. -- Angels starter Matt Shoemaker pitched six shutout innings against the Mariners on Monday, the same division rivals he'll face during his regular-season debut in 16 days and several other times throughout the year.

A lot of teams will be getting their second and third look at Shoemaker this season.

While finishing second in American League Rookie of the Year Award voting in 2014, Shoemaker started against the same team twice on only four occasions. Now there are questions about how the 28-year-old right-hander will fare against more familiar opponents, perhaps because many were so surprised at his success in the first place.

Shoemaker isn't worried.

"It's a game of adjustments," he said. "So we have to go out there, attack our game plan. For me, I have to execute my pitches. I have to execute and locate them. If I do that, I'll have a lot of success. That's what all the hard work goes into, being able to do that on a normal basis."

Shoemaker started three games against the Rangers and Royals last year, and two each against the Rays and Mariners. The only team he struggled against the next time through was the Royals, who pounded Shoemaker for eight runs on 11 hits in four innings on June 27. Three months after that, though, Shoemaker pitched six innings of one-run ball against them in Game 2 of the AL Division Series.

Angels pitching coach Mike Butcher doesn't sense any concerns in that department.

The biggest reason is Shoemaker's approach. He keeps it as simple as possible, focusing mostly on using his four-pitch mix -- fastball, sinker, slider, splitter -- to pound the lower half of the strike zone. He's a strike thrower pitching half his games in the pitcher-friendly environment of Angel Stadium, so there are reasons for encouragement.

"Really his game is just what it is," Butcher said. "His adjustment is really just controlling counts again. He can throw a lot of pitches in any count, so I don't think there's much of an adjustment. Just going out there and being himself, not trying to do too much."

Alden Gonzalez is a reporter for Read his blog, Gonzo and "The Show", and follow him on Twitter @Alden_Gonzalez. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.