We saw two Matt Moore’s last night: the Matt Moore of 2012 in the first and second innings, and the Matt Moore of 2011 in the third through sixth innings. To be honest, Moore scared me in the first two innings of last nights game. In those innings alone, Moore gave up two runs on four hits and a walk. I should also mention that he hit Adrian Gonzalez* with a pitch to load the bases in the first inning. To his credit, Matt was able to get out of a bases loaded situation with minimal damage. Moore’s control, and inevitably his ability to locate his pitches, was all over the place (see the pitch f/x below).
Moore began to calm down in the third inning, though he wasn’t truly the Matt Moore of 2011 until the fourth inning. Nevertheless, Moore gave up one run on one hit (a Cody Ross homer) in the third, while striking out five and walking none. Moore found his location (see the pitch f/x below)and was able to coast through the last four innings with little, to any, Red Sox threat. In short, he was able to salvage what could have been a horrendous start, keeping the Rays in the game throughout the duration of his performance. Did I mention that he was pretty fun to watch in the third through sixth innings as well? In the end, I would call this Moore’s strongest effort to date. It was nice to see that he was able to calm down and put himself in a position of positive growth for his next start.
The Rays are starting a three game intraleague set against the Braves tonight. On the hill for the Braves is RHP Tommy Hanson (4-3, 3.43 ERA) who the Rays have not seen very much of. The players on the Rays roster that have seen Hanson are hitting .087 BAA in 23 at-bats, with three walks and seven strike outs. Hanson has a big overhead curveball, a slider, and a decent 89-92 MPH fastball that he tends to lean on most of the time. He has been known to leave his fastball in the meatball zone (high and over the plate) and has been punished a few times this year for doing so. Most notably, Hanson was knocked out of the May 2nd game against the Phillies after only 3.2 innings of work. In that game, he gave up four earned runs on eight hits and two walks. Hanson is averaging just over five innings of work in his eight starts, making it through the seventh inning only twice this season.
Finally, Alex Cobb has been called up from Triple-A Durham, to fill in for the broken legged Jeff Niemann. He’s getting the nod tomorrow’s game. As you may recall, Cobb was called up last year to fill in for an ailing Jeff Niemann. Tonight’s starting lineup is below. Sean Rodriguez is off, finding Jeff Keppinger at third. Will Rhymes isn’t listed in the lineup either. No word whether Rodriguez or Rhymes would be available off of the bench, though I’d imagine if either of them are available, it’d be Sean Rod.
Tampa Bay Rays Starting Lineup:
Shields RHP (6-1)
*A note to you, dear reader: If I may digress for a moment though and say that I am completely fine with Moore hitting Gonzalez with a pitch. I was fully expecting more fireworks, both offensively and defensively, following Tuesday’s game, but this “unintentional” showing of team support was enough to satiate that must-get-even affect inside of me.