HOUSTON -- Angels starter Matt Shoemaker has pitched well early on, providing back-to-back quality starts and winning both games. But he's still searching for his normal velocity. Shoemaker's average fastball velocity has been 88.9 mph through his first two starts, down from the 91.3 mph he averaged in 2014.
"For me, that's usually how it is," said Shoemaker, who will start Monday against the A's on six days' rest. "I feel like early on in the season, with any season, I get stronger. I don't feel anything different. I think it's just the strength and getting into a rhythm."
Shoemaker was sitting at 92 to 93 mph at the start of last year, but all of his April appearances came out of the bullpen in 2014.
This year's drop could have something to do with his weight.
Shoemaker said he goes on a strict diet every offseason because he gains weight very quickly during the season. He entered Spring Training 30 pounds lighter from where he finished 2014, but has already regained about 20 pounds to put him at 225. His normal weight is somewhere between 230 and 235, a mark Shoemaker said he never exceeds because of all the workouts that come with a six-month season.
A normal weight could trigger normal velocity.
"I definitely think so," Shoemaker said. "That's what it usually does. I'm not very far off, which is a good thing - but it is kind of funny how quickly I can regain the weight.
"I feel like when I'm at that weight, there's more there, just because there's more behind the ball and I have more strength."
Alden Gonzalez is a reporter for MLB.com. 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.