Angels-Red Sox Preview
BOSTON -- Matt Shoemaker is due for some good fortune.
The Angels right-hander is coming off a strong June that saw him run up a 2.14 ERA in six starts, good enough to place him in the running for mention for things like Pitcher of the Month.
One problem -- he didn't win a game, as his team suffered through an 8-19 month that sent it spiraling into last place in the American league West.
"Matt is on an incredible run," manager Mike Scioscia said after his pitcher's last outing.
Incredible run. No results -- something Shoemaker hopes to turn around when he faces the Red Sox in Sunday's series finale at Fenway Park.
He can only hope his teammates, who scored 21 runs to even the three-game series on Saturday night, saved some for him on Sunday.
Shoemaker will face a former Angel, journeyman right-hander Sean O'Sullivan, who will come up from Triple-A Pawtucket for the spot start.
"It's not that frustrating because it's a long season and it's the game of baseball," Shoemaker, who has allowed four earned runs and struck out 20 in 19 1/3 innings over his last three starts, said after the bullpen failed to hold his win last week -- in his second straight strong start against the Houston Astros.
"My job is to try to go out and put up zeros as much as I can. For the bullpen, it's the same thing. Sometimes things don't go our way."
Shoemaker, 7-10 last year after a 16-4 run in 2014, is 3-8 with a 4.12 ERA this season. In June, he was 0-3 as his ERA dropped from 5.85 to 4.12. He joined Pedro Martinez (New York Mets, 2006) as the only pitchers ever to go winless in a month with an ERA under 3.00 and with at least 45 strikeouts.
He hasn't won since May 27.
Shoemaker has been brilliant in two career games, one start, against the Red Sox, going 2-0 with a 0.00 ERA in 10 2/3 innings against Boston.
Current Red Sox hitters are a combined 1-for-24 against Shoemaker, with both Xander Bogaerts and Dustin Pedroia coming in at 0-for-4.
O'Sullivan was 1-0 with a 7.94 ERA in three games, two starts, with the Red Sox earlier this season. One of nine starters used by the club in 2016, he comes up on a Triple-A run that saw him go 4-0 with a 2.61 ERA in six starts.
He got the nod over right-hander Aaron Wilkerson, the former Independent League pitcher who is 4-1 with a 2.20 ERA with Pawtucket -- as the Red Sox hit the official midway point with their 81st game.
"That was the recommendation (of the minor league people)," manager John Farrell said Friday. "Wilkerson, we recognize, has been throwing the ball well there. The recommendation was for Sean to come back up here and pitch on Sunday."
O'Sullivan, out of options, was designated for assignment by the Red Sox on May 16, but he returned to Pawtucket after clearing waivers.
Overall at Pawtucket, he is 6-2 with a 2.79 ERA in 11 starts this season.
He was 5-2 with the Angels in 2009 and 2010.
Now, he has to try to turn around what happened to his team, losers of seven of their last 11, on Saturday night.