Matt Shoemaker remains inconsistent after three outings in return to Angels

  • The Mariners’ Robinson Cano slides home safely on an RBI single by Ryon Healy as Angels catcher Jose Briceno looks on during the fourth inning of Friday’s game at Angel Stadium. (Photo by John McCoy/Getty Images)

  • Los Angeles Angels shortstop Andrelton Simmons, left, gets set to tag out Seattle Mariners’ Jean Segura as he tires to steal second during the fifth inning of a baseball game Friday, Sept. 14, 2018, in Anaheim, Calif. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)

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  • ANAHEIM, CA – SEPTEMBER 14: Andrelton Simmons #2 of the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim tags Jean Segura #2 of the Seattle Mariners out trying to steal second base in the fifth inning at Angel Stadium on September 14, 2018 in Anaheim, California. (Photo by John McCoy/Getty Images)

  • ANAHEIM, CA – SEPTEMBER 14: Matt Shoemaker #52 of the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim pitches to the Seattle Mariners in the first inning at Angel Stadium on September 14, 2018 in Anaheim, California. (Photo by John McCoy/Getty Images)

  • ANAHEIM, CA – SEPTEMBER 14: Roenis Elias #55 of the Seattle Mariners pitches to the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim in the first inning at Angel Stadium on September 14, 2018 in Anaheim, California. (Photo by John McCoy/Getty Images)

  • Los Angeles Angels’ Shohei Ohtani, right, of Japan, follows through as he hits a foul ball as Seattle Mariners catcher Mike Zunino watches during the second inning of a baseball game Friday, Sept. 14, 2018, in Anaheim, Calif. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)

  • Seattle Mariners’ Robinson Cano, right, scores on an RBI-single by Ryon Healy as Los Angeles Angels catcher Jose Briceno stands at the plate during the fourth inning of a baseball game Friday, Sept. 14, 2018, in Anaheim, Calif. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)

  • Seattle Mariners’ Robinson Cano, left, gestures after scoring on an RBI-single by Ryon Healy as Los Angeles Angels catcher Jose Briceno stands at the plate during the fourth inning of a baseball game Friday, Sept. 14, 2018, in Anaheim, Calif. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)

  • ANAHEIM, CA – SEPTEMBER 14: Robinson Cano #22 of the Seattle Mariners celebrates after scoring on a RBI single by Ryon Healy in the fourth inning at Angel Stadium on September 14, 2018 in Anaheim, California. (Photo by John McCoy/Getty Images)

  • ANAHEIM, CA – SEPTEMBER 14: Matt Shoemaker #52 of the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim pitches to the Seattle Mariners in the first inning at Angel Stadium on September 14, 2018 in Anaheim, California. (Photo by John McCoy/Getty Images)

  • Los Angeles Angels shortstop Andrelton Simmons fields a ball hit by Seattle Mariners’ Robinson Cano before throwing him out at first during the first inning of a baseball game Friday, Sept. 14, 2018, in Anaheim, Calif. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)

  • Los Angeles Angels’ Shohei Ohtani, of Japan, takes his helmet off after swinging for a strike during the fourth inning of a baseball game against the Seattle Mariners Friday, Sept. 14, 2018, in Anaheim, Calif. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)

  • Seattle Mariners’ Kyle Seager, right, scores on a single by Dee Gordon as Los Angeles Angels catcher Jose Briceno stands at the plate during the seventh inning of a baseball game Friday, Sept. 14, 2018, in Anaheim, Calif. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)

  • ANAHEIM, CA – SEPTEMBER 14: Manager Mike Scioscia of the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim walks out to batting practice before playing the Seattle Mariners at Angel Stadium on September 14, 2018 in Anaheim, California. (Photo by John McCoy/Getty Images)

  • ANAHEIM, CA – SEPTEMBER 14: Shohei Ohtani #17 of the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim runs the bases during batting practice before playing the Seattle Mariners at Angel Stadium on September 14, 2018 in Anaheim, California. (Photo by John McCoy/Getty Images)

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ANAHEIM — For Matt Shoemaker, the final month of this lost Angels season is about proving he’s healthy and can be effective.

He seems to be the former, and the jury is still out on the latter.

Shoemaker started with three perfect innings but then couldn’t get out of the fifth inning in the Angels’ 5-0 loss to the Seattle Mariners on Friday night.

It was essentially a continuation of his first two starts of the month, one in which he pitched five scoreless innings and one in which he gave up three runs in five innings.

After the first two games, he reported no issues with the forearm trouble that cost him most of the past two seasons. He was visited on the mound by trainer Eric Munson in the fifth inning on Friday, but Munson allowed him to continue pitching after a quick chat.

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Before the game, Manager Mike Scioscia said by all accounts Shoemaker seems to be healthy. He draws that conclusion because in Shoemaker’s previous two games he got beyond the 50- to 60-pitch range when his forearm used to become an issue.

“I think Shoe’s challenge, and he knows this very clearly, is not throwing the first, second or third inning,” Scioscia said before the game. “Where this thing started to crop up, and the pitch counts it would crop up on, looks like it’s been solved. He’s been flying through that in these two starts. I’m very comfortable that he’s past this thing that set him back.”

One of the reasons that Shoemaker’s troubles persisted, he believes, is that the injury wasn’t correctly diagnosed in 2017. He had surgery to release the radial nerve. It wasn’t until they opened him up again this year, in May, that doctors saw he had a split pronator tendon, which they repaired.

Shoemaker has said he thinks he’ll be fine now.

The other issue, however, is the way he’s pitched. Throughout his Angels career, he’s been to both extremes. At times, like his rookie year in 2014, he’s looked like a top of the rotation pitcher. Other times, he’s looked like a fringe starter.

That’s all been wrapped up in his three starts this month, including a strange outing on Friday. After retiring the first nine hitters, he gave up three runs in the fourth.

The best part of that was that he was pounding the strike zone early, and his splitter was good throughout the game.

The Mariners swung and missed at nine of Shoemaker’s 26 splitters, a rate of 34.6 percent. Normally, he’s around 20 percent.

One splitter got him into trouble, though.

After he’d allowed a run on three straight hits to start the fourth, he was an out away from escaping with no further damage. He threw a 2-and-2 splitter to Ryon Healy, but he hung it. Healy roped it into left field for a two-run single.

Shoemaker gave up a double in the fifth, and he would have escaped that inning too, but third baseman Taylor Ward booted a ground ball with two outs. That ended Shoemaker’s night after 77 pitches.

At that time the Angels still had only one hit. Their best chance at a run was Mike Trout’s deep drive in the fourth, which center fielder Dee Gordon caught with a leap at the fence. They finished with six hits.

More to come on this story.

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