Angels' Matt Shoemaker Sets Franchise Mark for Most Strikeouts Through 10 Starts

Bleacher Report MilestonesB/R StaffJuly 4, 2014

KANSAS CITY, MO - JUNE 27:  Matt Shoemaker #52 of the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim throws in the first inning against the Kansas City Royals at Kauffman Stadium on June 27, 2014 in Kansas City, Missouri. (Photo by Ed Zurga/Getty Images)
Ed Zurga/Getty Images

Making his ninth start of the season and the 10th of his career, Los Angeles Angels pitcher Matt Shoemaker struck out seven Houston Astros over six innings in Thursday's 5-2 victory.

The performance brought his strikeout total in 10 career starts to 57, setting a new franchise record for the most punchouts through the first 10 starts of a pitcher's career, according to Eric Kay, the Angels' director of communications.

Coming off a disastrous eight-run outing against the Kansas City Royals, Shoemaker appeared to be in for another rough day once the Astros plated a pair of runs in the third inning to erase the Angels' early 1-0 lead. However, Shoemaker induced an inning-ending double play from Astros third baseman Matt Dominguez, thus limiting the damage in the top of the third.

The Angels would bounce back to score four runs in the bottom of the fourth, and Shoemaker ultimately bowed out after recording seven strikeouts over six strong innings, with his team holding a 5-2 lead. The bullpen finished things off, allowing Shoemaker to improve to 6-2 on the season.

The 27-year-old right-hander has seemingly come out of nowhere this year after making one start last season, in which he recorded five strikeouts over five scoreless innings. Despite that one strong outing, Shoemaker never made much noise, as his minor league track record is rather uninspiring.

Last season with Triple-A Salt Lake, he posted a 4.64 ERA and 7.81 K/9, on the heels of an even worse year in 2012. And he was no better earlier this season, as he owned a gruesome 6.31 ERA through 25.1 innings at the time of his call-up.

While he's struggled in five appearances out of the bullpen this season, Shoemaker has made the most of his nine starts. He owns a 6-1 record as a starter and has only once surrendered more than three earned runs in an outing, in that aforementioned start against the Royals.

Shoemaker certainly hopes to have a better career than Bo Belinsky, the hurler whose franchise record he broke. Belinsky, a southpaw who played from 1962-1970, struck out 56 batters for the Angels in the first 10 starts of his career. Despite the early success, he ultimately retired with a 28-51 record and a lifetime 4.10 ERA.