Rockies ace Matt Shoemaker is one of the best relievers in the majors, but it’s not just his stuff.
He’s a two-time Cy Young Award winner, has led the majors in saves twice and is a two time NL All-Star.
It was Shoemaker’s work ethic and desire to learn the game that made him the Rockies’ starting closer.
Now, he’s the only player in the game to lead the majors with 1,096 saves.
“It’s an honor to be a part of this organization and to be here for two years,” Shoemaker said.
“To know the fans, it’s been a blessing.
I’m grateful for this opportunity and this team.
I have a lot of fun and I’m very proud of what we’ve accomplished.
I’ve played for a lot in this organization, so I just want to do my best.”
Shoemaker and Rockies manager Bud Black have a new relationship going, with Shoemaker sharing the bullpen with Black and Shoemaker getting the nod over former closer Drew Pomeranz, who signed with the Arizona Diamondbacks.
Shoemaker got his first taste of a big league rotation on Wednesday, pitching five innings in a win over the Padres, then going 2-1 with a 1.25 ERA and a 1-0 record.
He made 16 consecutive scoreless appearances in his first start in the rotation.
Shoemers biggest concern is that the Rockies are a bit short of talent in that department, so he has to keep working on his pitches.
Shoemi made his big league debut in 2012 with the Dodgers, but never pitched more than 17 innings in two seasons.
The Rockies’ bullpen is currently ranked 26th in the National League in ERA (2.80) and 24th in WHIP (1.95).
The bullpen is in need of a boost this season.
The team is in the midst of a three-game series against the Padres at Petco Park, with the Rockies needing at least a 2.25 win.
Shoemer has a 1,089-game career record, and his 1.38 ERA ranks third among active relievers.
“The challenge is we need to be better and get back to the postseason,” Shoemere said.
The other issue Shoemaker has to deal with is his command.
He was held scoreless in his last start last month and gave up five runs in the first two innings of Wednesday’s win.
The first two batters he faced all of his pitches went for hits, but Shoemaker gave up three in his next two innings, allowing two runs.
He then gave up four in the fourth inning.
Shoemeers ERA over his first two starts is 2.19.
“I feel like the things I can do better and the things that I can improve on are things that can help me,” Shoemeer said.
Shoems first save came in his rookie season in 2017, when he pitched in 14 of the Rockies first 17 games.
He didn’t make his big-league debut until 2018.